LARGO — The Tampa Prep volleyball team had just seven players in uniform for Tuesday's district tilt at Indian Rocks Christian — and given the Terrapins' recent injury woes and flu bugs — it was a good day.
There have been times this season when practice had only five healthy bodies.
"You have to just put in the extra work for who's missing, especially when it comes to running," said Terps middle hitter Savannah Cantrell, who had been battling the flu the past three weeks. "It's helped because when someone's not around, the rest of us have to work harder to make up for it."
Tampa Prep coach Mike Flynn said he has used at least seven starting lineup combinations because of it. But on the road against the Golden Eagles, the Terrapins and their musical-chair rotation managed to persevere for a 25-23, 15-25, 25-13, 25-23 win over their Class 2A, District 10 rivals for their second victory over IRC this season.
"I think we're slowly but surely improving and coming together as a team," Cantrell said. "We all have the skill when we use it the right way. There are a lot of battles as a small team. There have been a lot of bumps and bruises along the way."
Junior outside hitter Ericka McGriff led the Terps with 13 kills, while Cantrell and outside hitter Latora Lofgren added 12 kills apiece. Senior setter Caroline Dillabough has 39 assists and 13 digs and libero Nikki Cardoso had 12 digs.
With the teams splitting the first two sets, Tampa Prep (6-6, 5-0) took command of Game 3 by utilizing its middle hitters, Cantrell and 6-foot-2 freshman Katie Krueger, breaking a 6-6 tie with a run of 16 of 20 points.
"I think our ball control came around in Game 3," Flynn said. "We committed to work harder in serve-receive and the passing aspect of it. That's why we were able to run the middles."
Junior outside hitter Marisa Moralobo led IRC (10-7, 3-2) with 14 kills and nine digs. Sophomore middle hitter Madison Loebel added with 13 kills and two blocks for the Golden Eagles.
"We know Tampa Prep is going to show up every night," Indian Rocks coach Mark Foster said. "We didn't fight with the intensity and desire we needed to tonight."