Sickles looked like anything but the top team in the 4A-12 district tournament Wednesday.
The Gryphons squandered match points in the second game of a semifinal against Robinson but settled back into form late, winning a tense third game to earn a spot in the championship with a 15-13, 14-16, 15-13 decision over the Knights.
"We played pretty bad compared to normal. We were very inconsistent," said Sickles coach Sam Cibrone. "I think the girls were too worried about making mistakes rather than playing ball."
The Gryphons (11-4) went unbeaten in the district in the regular season but had all the competition they wanted from Robinson.
The Knights rallied from an 8-0 deficit in the first game before Sickles regrouped to take the game on Robyn Medgebow ace.
Robinson (8-7) went down 14-11 in the second game, but the Knights were able to even the match when Sickles started hitting the ball into the net.
"We got relaxed, and that's our own fault," Cibrone said. "We have to pass better."
In the see-saw decisive game, Robinson used a 4-0 run to tie the score at 13, but an ace by Gryphons server Leslie Jordan and a double hit called against Knights hitter Jane Everets gave Sickles the win.
The Gryphons will face host Palm Harbor University, a 15-5, 15-1 winner over Osceola, for the district championship tonight at 7 p.m. PHU setter Janice Fung served on 11 consecutive points in the second game to seal Osceola's fate. PHU, a second-year school, and Sickles, in its first year, both advance to the region tournament.