1. Sports
  2. /
  3. HomeTeam

Bishop McLaughlin begins promising season with sweep of Tampa Catholic

The Hurricanes have state title aspirations and Tuesday’s opener did nothing to dampen that.
Bishop McLaughlin got the better of this block and ultimately took the match in three quick games Tuesday night over visiting Tampa Catholic. SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times [Tampa Bay Times]
Bishop McLaughlin got the better of this block and ultimately took the match in three quick games Tuesday night over visiting Tampa Catholic. SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Aug. 21

SPRING HILL — Bishop McLaughlin coach Doug Chinchar has a succinct description of his team this season.

“We’re loaded,” he said.

That talent was on display in Tuesday night’s season opener against Tampa Catholic. The Hurricanes, who fell one match short of a state championship and perfect season last year, defeated the Crusaders 25-8, 25-15, 25-13. They were led by junior Audrey Koenig, a Florida State commit, with 20 kills.

Maddie Snider (eight kills) and Ali Waldon (seven kills) also contributed to a powerful front line. In fact, with Ezzie Thompson in the lineup, the Hurricanes start three top-notch freshmen at the net. Most of Bishop McLaughlin’s starters are underclassmen, which bodes well for the present and future.

RELATED: Bishop McLaughlin’s first volleyball loss of 2018 season comes in Class 3A final

The first three points of Tuesday’s match was an indication of the Hurricanes’ versatility. The match started with a kill from Waldon. That was followed by a kill by Snider, then another from Koenig. Bishop McLaughlin jumped out to an 8-3 lead and was up 15-7 midway through the first set.

Then came a seven-point run that included two straight kills by Snider and two straight aces by Terah Nejman. The set fittingly ended with a kill by Koenig.

The second set started much the same way the first did. The Hurricanes led 9-3 and jumped out to a 20-10 lead. The Crusaders cut it to 20-13 thanks to a kill by Emma Hennessee and a tip by Kendall Herrera. But the Hurricanes scored the final three points to take a 2-0 lead.

Tampa Catholic was much more competitive in the third set. The Crusaders only trailed 7-5 early on. Then came a 6-0 run later in the set that made the score 18-9. The Hurricanes didn’t let up and ended the set, and match, on a 6-1 run.

“It’s a good start against a pretty good team,” Chinchar said. "We just out-powered them all over the place. We’re a better ball-control team, better blocking, better passing, better serving, better hitting.

“It’s going to be a fun little trip, but we do have to get better. I don’t think they should have scored as many points as they scored. They should have been in the six to nine range.”

Bishop McLaughlin is ranked 86th nationally by


  1. A little more than a month into the season, Nature Coast Tech sophomore Kennedy Weissman leads the state in scoring with 41 goals and 92 points, almost double the totals of the next closest player. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The sophomore has a whopping 41 goals so far this season, easily tops of any player in Florida.
  2. Largo's Julia Violante (6), center, gets a hug from teammate Sarai Faulkner (17), right, while joining Asti Luff (23), left, and McKenzie Emery (14) at midfield moments after scoring her second goal of the night (2-0) against St. Petersburg on Monday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    The University of Florida commit is having a banner season on the pitch, but is missing her biggest fan.
  3. Hezekiah B. Walters, 14, was a member of Men of Vision, a local non-profit for teens. He collapsed while participating in football conditioning drills at Middleton High School during the summer. [MEN OF VISION  |  Special to the Times]
    The death of Middleton High’s Hezekiah B. Walters during summer conditioning helps spark a bill that seeks better protection for players at practices and games.
  4. East Lake and rival St. Petersburg squared off Tuesday night, this time as non-district foes. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Eagles’ 67-30 victory over the Green Devils is their fourth straight in the series since late last season.
  5. Springstead guard Unique Torain makes a nifty assist during a victory at Nature Coast on Tuesday night. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Eagles are led by Unique Torain’s 18 points and unselfish play.
  6. Clearwater wide receiver Keedrik Murray (5) catches the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter at Gaither High on Nov. 15. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The 25th edition of the game will be held at Clearwater High.
  7. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott talks with receivers Mike Williams (7) and Artavis Scott (3) during a 2016 game at FSU. Scott was named USF's coach Monday. [DAVID GROOMS/CAL SPORT MEDIA  |]
    Though not the bay area’s primary recruiter for Clemson, Scott’s fingerprints are all over the region.
  8. Tampa Catholic's Alijah Harrison attempts to block the ball from Andrew Jackson's Logan West during last year's state semifinals in Lakeland. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
    Tampa Catholic holds on to the top spot after an impressive opening week.
  9. Tampa Bay Tech's Amiya Evans (30) drives the ball during the first half of the state championship game between Tampa Bay Tech and St. Thomas Aquinas last season in Lakeland. [Times]
    The big three stays the same, but Wesley Chapel moves up a slot in our latest rankings.
  10. Tampa Prep's Grace Langston (50), left, works to disrupt a shot attempt by Wesley Chapel's Mia Nicholson (12) during the game on Friday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    The Wildcats lead early, then hang on to improve to 5-0 on the season.