Plant captured the Class 5A, District 9 volleyball championship Friday with a 15-4, 15-10 win over Armwood.
The Panthers defeated Robinson 15-8, 15-9 in the afternoon to earn their berth in the final. Kym Page recorded five kills in that win and Danielle Faggion served 13 points, including three aces. She also made two blocks.
Armwood clawed back from a 16-14 loss to Auburndale in the second semifinal to win the next two games 15-8, 15-13. Sophomores Regan Robinson and Chinovia Shedrick and senior Sandy Clamon paced the Hawks.
Robinson served 15 points in the three games and also made five kills. Clamon and Shadrick each made four kills.
Plant moved out quickly against the tired Hawks in the title match and it looked as if the Panthers would walk away. But the Hawks came back strong in the second game while the Panthers made errors. The game took almost 35 minutes.
"Armwood played much better against us in the second game, forcing us to make too many mistakes," said Plant head coach Laura Figueredo.
Robinson was the leader once again for Armwood, serving six points and making four kills.
Senior outside hitter Holly Harrington paced the Panthers with seven kills.
"Harrington had a very good night," said Figueredo. "She came on very strong in this tournament and was a key hitter for us."
3A-6: Tampa Prep slams
door on Mooney
TAMPA _ For a brief moment at the beginning of Friday's Class 3A, District 6 volleyball championship, the Cougars from Sarasota Cardinal Mooney saw a ray of hope against top-ranked Tampa Prep.
Then the Terrapins slammed the door and cast the Cougars into extinction.
Cardinal Mooney, ranked No. 5 in the state 3A poll, grabbed a 2-0 lead before Sarah Peifer and Aimee Boulet delived a one-two punch, combining for a dozen kills in a 15-1, 15-1 rout at the Academy of the Holy Names gym.
Tampa Prep (31-3) will host unranked Melbourne Central Catholic in the Class 3A, Region IV championship on Friday at 7 p.m. The Terrapins, ranked No. 9 in this week's Mizuno national poll, are seeking their 10th state title since 1980.
Because of a peculiar formula agreed to by the district coaches, Cardinal Mooney was seeded first in the district and the Terrapins second.
"We were angry about that and we wanted to prove to the state that the seedings weren't right," said Boulet, a senior who dominated the second game with four kills and two aces off her running jump serve. "I think we proved we should have been the No. 1 seed."
Peifer had a match-high eight kills despite playing with a sprained finger on her hitting arm. Her twin sister, Katie, added three service winners. Regina Graham added three service winners, Shirley Smiekel two and Janine Patton one.
The overmatched Cougars seemed to anticipate their fate.
"We were in it to give it our best," said Cougars junior Kristina Eder, who had a service ace and two of her team's four kills. "We were ready for what they gave us, but we were always on defense. They're good. We're just happy; overall the season was very good."
Cardinal Mooney finished 26-7.
_ DAVID BRACKMAN
rallies past Lakeland
LAKELAND _ After dropping the opening game to a feisty Lakeland team, Bloomingdale inched its way to the Class 6A, District 7 championship Friday night 8-15, 15-10, 15-2.
The Dreadnaughts fired up the home crowd by jumping to a 12-7 lead behind the kills of Jennifer Lipscomb and Jamie Oeters. Setter Lucius April made several great digs.
"They definitely outhustled us," Bloomingdale coach Bonnie Hess said. "I was surprised how well they played. They were hitting and blocking so well."
Indeed, Lakeland made only a handful of unforced errors in the first game, versus numerous serving and hitting miscues by Bloomingdale.
Lakeland coach Carla Blount tried to keep her team focused after the first game. "I told them Bloomingdale was going to come back strong," Blount said.
But Bloomingdale played a tentative second game, exchanging winners and service errors with Lakeland. The Bulls eventually broke through after being down 10-6. A string of points followed by three consecutive service winners by Stephanie Wood closed out the second game 15-10.
"We played scared," Hess said.
The Bulls pulled it together in the third game with more good serving and offensive play. Missy Paterson served up five winners and middle hitter Stephanie Queen had four kills and an ace.
Bloomingdale came up with eight unanswered points to put the match away 15-2.
Hess was relieved to come out on top.
"Even at 7-1 I said to my assistant coach I still didn't have a good feeling," Hess said. "The key was winning those serves."
Blount was proud of her team's effort against the highly touted Bulls. "We kind of ran out of steam," Blount said.
_ MATT CUNNINGHAM
2A-9: Temple Heights
falls to Santa Fe in final
LAKELAND _ Santa Fe Catholic defeated Temple Heights 15-3, 15-10 for the Class 2A, District 9 title Friday night, denying the Eagles their first district volleyball championship.
The Eagles couldn't maintain the momentum gained from Thursday night's 15-13, 7-15, 15-12 district semifinal win over top-seeded and tournament host Lakeland Christian, falling behind early and never getting into the winning rhythm they had the day before.