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HomeTeam Hot List: Wharton-Plant volleyball among week’s highlights

Most must-see day of the week? That would be Friday, with another full football slate, stellar volleyball and a big cross country meet.
Palm Harbor University's Luana Sondgerath, right, celebrates after firing down a kill during a victory last season over over Berkeley Prep. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]
Published Aug. 26

A closer look at some of the high school events worth checking out this week:

Volleyball, Holy Names at Northside Christian

6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A good cross-bay match between teams with postseason aspirations. The Mustangs are trying to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Osceola. The Jaguars are 2-0 and have not dropped a set.

Volleyball, Plant at Wharton

7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Wildcats appear to be pretty darn good. They defeated a solid Lakewood Ranch in the preseason and took care of East Bay in straight sets last week. Plant is looking to rebound after a 3-0 loss to Hagerty, who the Panthers beat in the region final last season. This is an early Class 7A, District 7 match that could set the tone for the rest of the season.

MORE PREP VOLLEYBALL: St. Petersburg impresses in season opener vs. defending state champ Shorecrest

Volleyball, Steinbrenner at Bloomingdale

7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Warriors have lost only one set in four matches. One of those was a 3-0 win over Bloomingdale in the preseason. This one should be a bit tougher on the road. The Bulls are coming off a 3-2 win over annual playoff contender Robinson.

Cross country, Babe Zaharias Twilight Challenge

Will Mary Ellen Eudaly and Plant repeat as state champions this year? They'll get a good early-season test Friday. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

5:15 p.m. Friday. The meet, held on the golf course in Tampa, features some of the top teams in the state. Defending Class 4A boys state champion Sarasota and 4A girls champion Plant will be there, along with several others that placed among the top five.

Volleyball, Palm Harbor University at Berkeley Prep

6 p.m. Friday. A rare Friday night match. The Hurricanes will be without key players Katy Cameron and Luana Sondgerath due to previous Labor Day travel plans, so it won’t be a full squad. The Bucs are playing well so far, despite being young.

MORE PREP VOLLEYBALL: East Lake off to a perfect start in district play

Football, Boca Ciega at Largo

7:30 p.m. Friday. These teams met at the end of September last season, and it was all Boca Ciega in a 40-14 win. It was the first of six straight wins for the Pirates, snapping a four-game win streak for the Packers. Both teams are 1-0 so far. Largo beat Braden River 7-2 in the opener; Boca Ciega beat Gibbs 50-6.

MORE PREP FOOTBALL: HomeTeam 15: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

Football: Plant City at Tampa Bay Tech

7:30 p.m. Friday. Though the programs are no longer district rivals, their matchup still is intriguing, especially after both recorded big wins last week. The Raiders outscored Jesuit 37-29 and the Titans blanked Chamberlain 25-0. It also is a chance for fans to watch a pair of promising quarterbacks — Plant City’s Makenzie Kennedy and the Tampa Bay Tech’s David Wright.

Golf, CCC Invitational at Belleair CC

1 p.m. Saturday. This is the first really big 18-hole local tournament of the high school season. There are 18 boys teams overall, including Palm Harbor University, St. Petersburg Catholic, Shorecrest, Admiral Farragut, Calvary Christian, Northside Christian and host Clearwater Central Catholic. Shotgun start on the East Course.


  1. Wiregrass Ranch quarterback Rocco Becht has helped lead the Bulls to an unbeaten start. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    The sophomore quarterback certainly wasn’t expecting to be the starter, but “is growing every day,” his coach says.
  2. Carrollwood Day's Haley Brown leads Tampa Bay in kills with 167. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Players from Carrollwood Day, Calvary Christian, Central and Berkeley Prep claim top spots.
  3. Riverview quarterback Stazion Gage has accounted for almost 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns this season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Sharks are on the cusp of securing their first winning season in more than a decade.
  4. Alexandra Postlethwaite helps dish out the assists for Bishop McLaughlin. ALICE HERDEN  |  Special to the Times
    Not much change at the top, but plenty of movement in the lower half of this week’s rankings
  5. Clearwater Academy International's Ajou Ajou makes a reception while working through a passing drill in April. CAI faces American Collegiate on Friday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    One of the area’s top volleyball tournaments, the Berkeley Premier, also starts this weekend.
  6. Armwood's Charles Montgomery runs the ball during the first half against Plant on Aug. 23, 2019, in Seffner. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    There is plenty of movement except at the top, where Armwood remains No. 1
  7. The Pinellas Park Patriots take to the field moments after the end of the fourth quarter against Mitchell on Friday night. The Patriots won 29-19. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    PSA to opposing offenses facing Lakewood this season: Good night and good luck.
  8. Warming up before the game Saturday night, USF redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud, a Plant High alum, got his first start as a college quarterback. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The former Panther gets the nod over Blake Barnett against South Carolina State.
  9. Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Packers notch a third straight win in the series and more importantly, gain an edge in the district.
  10. Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A veteran squad continues to deliver the wins for the Warriors, who are currently 4-0.