SEMINOLE — During a break between the first and second games of Tuesday night’s Class 7A, District 9 match between Clearwater and Seminole, Tornadoes coach Kara Betourne had a not-so-subtle message for her team.
“I had to scream at them a little bit,” Betourne said. “I had to tell them that, hey, this is a district game. We need to show up and play.”
After losing the first game, Clearwater turned things around for a 22-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-17 for a win.
Clearwater jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first game but Seminole stormed back to tie at 8-8. It stayed close throughout and was tied at 19. Then two Tornadoes errors and a kill by Kona Peterson made it 22-19. The Warhawks won on another Seminole error.
Then Clearwater’s front line of Sam Reeves, Maddie Rubino and Allie Russell got to work. With Haley Barrett setting them up, the Tornadoes threesome started to wear out the Warhawks.
That was especially true in the third game, when Clearwater (5-3, 2-0) started off on a 10-3 run behind three Reeves kills. She continued her dominance at the net, and libero Caitlin Stoner kept several points alive.
“When Sam gets a kill it’s contagious,” Betourne said. “There’s an energy that goes through the team and on the bench. The same thing happens when Caitlin gets those digs.”
In the final game Seminole (5-5, 0-1) took a 9-6 lead. Then the Tornadoes went on an 8-0 run with Reeves on the bench. Russell had an ace and two kills during the streak and Ciara Lusnia and Rubino also had big kills.
Seminole could get within only three points after the run.
“We have to play as a team,” Betourne said. “The chemistry is important. It makes a huge difference, and that’s what helped us tonight.”