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Hillsborough wins three state titles

Published Sep. 10, 2005

Durant coach Teri Ohme was afraid of how it might sound, but she said it anyway.

"We really expected well, we weren't expecting to win," she said. "But in a sense, we came here to win."

So even after a feisty Niceville team battled back from 7-1 to take the lead in the first game, the Cougars weren't concerned.

Setters Heather Connell and Christen Garcia controlled the pace while four players attacked from all sides.

And as Ohme had all but expected, Durant won the Class 5A state title, beating Niceville 15-10, 15-7.

It was the second state title for most of the team's juniors and seniors and came a year after a 6A state semifinal loss to Miami Sunset.

Senior Jenna Jordan had the block and kill to end the match and was the tournament most valuable player.

2A: Tampa Prep overmatches Westminster

LAKE BUENA VISTA _ Fort Lauderdale Westminster walked into the gym not intimidated by Tampa Prep.

At least that's what it said.

Once the match began, any hints of Tampa Prep intimidation quickly transformed to domination as it took just 45 minutes to rout Westminster 15-1, 15-8 to claim the Class 2A state title, its 14th state title.

After Westminster opened the match with a 1-0 lead (its only lead of the match), Tampa Prep took control and reeled off 15 consecutive points.

Tampa Prep took a 5-0 lead in the second game on an Amber Langston kill. But the Lions clawed back into the game with a 7-3 run.

But with two quick Tampa Prep points, one coming on a booming kill by Lara Schoomaker, the Terps regained control and quickly closed out the match.

4A: Plant cruises past Merritt Island

Overcoming a season of adjustments and the pressure of being the final county team to go for a state title, Plant defeated Merritt Island 15-7, 15-10 for the 4A title.

"We weren't nervous at all," Plant junior Jessica Smith said. "We were more excited because we knew we could do it."

Plant sophomore Sarah Kirkwood led the Panthers with 12 kills and 10 digs and was named the tournament most valuable player. Smith had seven kills and 10 digs.

_ Times correspondent Rod Gipson contributed to this report.