SEMINOLE — After barely surviving a semifinal match against Indian Rocks Christian, Tarpon Springs swept past St. Petersburg 27-25, 25-14 to win the 29th annual Keswick Invitational tournament Saturday.
The Spongers (7-1) needed three games to get past IRC (15-13 in the third game) and into the championship match. St. Petersburg (5-2) went through Countryside in its semifinal.
"I think our best game was against Indian Rocks, and we took it into this game," Tarpon Springs middle hitter and tournament MVP Ashlyn MacGregor said. "It gave us confidence, for sure."
In the first game against the Green Devils, Tarpon Springs jumped out to a 7-2 lead thanks to kills by MacGregor and a block by Allie Cullens. But St. Petersburg went on a 6-0 run behind the serving of Holly Welch and two kills from Carrington Kilgroe to take an 11-9 lead.
The teams stayed within two points of each other until Tarpon Springs scored five straight to take a 22-16 lead. But St. Petersburg kept scrapping and outscored Tarpon Springs 9-3 to tie the game at 25 behind the serving of Kilgroe and Welch. But the first game ended on two St. Petersburg mistakes, a net violation and a spike in the net.
The second game looked like more of the same. It was tied 9-9 when Tarpon Springs made a run the Green Devils couldn't recover from. Led by the serving of Dominique Scalisi, and more blocks and kills from MacGregor, the Spongers took a 16-9 lead.
The match ended on a Hannah James block that gave the Spongers the tournament title. MacGregor had nine kills to lead the Spongers, and Scalisi had 12 assists.
"This is a little beyond expectations," Tarpon Springs coach Patrick Sneed said. "I thought that we would do okay in pool play, but to play as well as we did against Indian Rocks was encouraging. I hoped we'd get to the finals, but to actually win it was nice."