Bishop McLaughlin and Clearwater Central Catholic both played against national competition last week. The Hurricanes lost to Alachua Santa Fe, but that’s not enough to take them out of the top spot. Calvary Christian and Osceola are the only two undefeated teams left in the area. The Berkeley Premier tournament is this weekend. With several local teams in the field, there is sure to be a shakeup in the Top 15 next week.
1. Bishop McLaughlin (9-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Berkeley Prep, Friday-Saturday at Berkeley Premier
Why they stayed put: The Hurricanes lost in the regular season for the first time in 34 matches. It was to state power Alachua Santa Fe, so no shame there. This week is chock full of competition. At the Berkeley Prep tournament, they will play Orlando Bishop Moore, Ocala Vanguard and Port Charlotte in pool play. It will be interesting to see how the Hurricanes bounce back from defeat.
2. Clearwater Central Catholic (8-3)
This week: Friday-Saturday at Berkeley Premier
Why they stayed put: The Marauders are back from the Louisville Invitational tournament, which featured several nationally ranked teams. They dropped three matches, including two very close ones to St. Ursula Academy of Cincinnati and Mother McAuley of Chicago. But they also won four matches and represented very well. CCC should be a factor in this weekend’s tournament.
3. Calvary Christian (11-0)
This week: Tuesday at Tampa Catholic, Thursday at St. Petersburg Catholic, Friday-Saturday at Berkeley Premier
Why they stayed put: The Warriors couldn’t start the season any better. Last week included impressive wins over Carrollwood Day and Berkeley Prep. This week’s schedule is full. They will certainly find out about themselves after this weekend. Calvary Christian has the talent and depth to be a big threat at the Berkeley tournament.
4. Wharton (13-1)
This week: Tuesday at Riverview, Thursday vs. Newsome
Why they stayed put: The Wildcats bounced back from the lone loss against Bishop McLaughlin to beat Bloomingdale, Alonso and Robinson last week. Riverview is a district match this week. Jeanette Henderson is up to 105 kills. Payton Kenny has 24 aces and Alexis Morse and Jamie Koopman each have 42 blocks.
5. Steinbrenner (15-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Tarpon Springs, Wednesday vs. Plant
Why they moved up: The Warriors did not lose a set in three wins last week. Plant is a Class 7A, District 7 match this week. Wharton sits on top of this district, so a win is important to keep pace. The only loss to an in-state opponent was last week against Calvary Christian in the Warrior Invitational tournament. Lilou Stegeman has 82 kills, 41 blocks and 39 digs.
6. East Lake (7-1)
This week: Tuesday at Clearwater, Wednesday vs. Countryside, Thursday vs. Tarpon Springs
Why they moved up: The big win last week was 3-2 over Mitchell, including a 15-13 fifth set. Olivia Thompson had 19 kills in the match, which was the first time this season a team has taken East Lake to five sets. Countryside is a PCAC match. Clearwater and Tarpon Springs are both rivals.
7. Osceola (5-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Palm Harbor University, Wednesday vs. Seminole
Why they moved up: The Warriors had a two-week break from matches due to the schedule and Hurricane Dorian, so they really weren’t tested prior to playing St. Petersburg on Thursday. They passed the test with a 3-1 win over a very good team. Kalli Cors, Olivia Dal Sasso and Clearwater transfer Sandy Cao were all over the court in the win. The schedule is favorable enough that the Warriors could win out. First-year coach Ashley Martin has made a big difference.
8. St. Petersburg (10-1)
This week: Tuesday at Largo, Wednesday vs. Boca Ciega, Thursday at Palm Harbor University
Why they moved down: The lone loss was against Osceola last week. That match went four sets and was competitive throughout. The Green Devils played Countryside on Monday in a makeup game from two weeks ago and won 3-0. Boca Ciega is a PCAC match. There are a lot of matches this week but St. Petersburg is good enough to win them all.
9. Carrollwood Day (11-6)
This week: Friday at Tampa Prep
Why they moved up: The Patriots were very busy last week. They beat Berkeley Prep, then lost to Calvary Christian. Then it was off to the Holy Names tournament, where they went 4-1 and beat the host in the final. Haley Brown has been playing well and has 167 kills.
10. Plant (7-4)
This week: Tuesday at Robinson, Wednesday at Steinbrenner,
Why they moved up: It looks as if the Panthers are starting to get it going. They have won four straight and haven’t lost a set in that stretch. Two rivalry matches this week, including a district game against Steinbrenner that will go a long way in determining the district champ.
11. Berkeley Prep (6-4)
This week: Tuesday at Bishop McLaughlin, Friday-Saturday at Berkeley Premier
Why they moved down: The Bucs have had better weeks. There were losses to Carrollwood Day and Calvary Christian, both good teams for sure. But they needed some momentum to take into their tournament. They will play Pine Crest, Manatee and Princess Anne of Virginia Beach in pool play. None of those will be easy. Then there’s the match against Bishop McLaughlin.
12. Wiregrass Ranch (9-4)
This week: Tuesday at Fivay, Thursday vs. Mitchell
Why they moved up: The Bulls went 5-2 last week but ended with two straight losses in the AHN tournament. One of the wins was against eventual tournament champ Carrollwood Day. Whoever wins the Mitchell match will remain in the hunt for the top spot in Class 6A, District 5.
13. Sunlake (7-4)
This week: Tuesday at Gaither
Why they moved down: The Seahawks were rolling into the AHN tournament, then went 2-3. We’ll look at it as a bad couple of days. Just one district match this week. One of the losses this season was to district foe East Lake, so they can’t afford to fall too far back.
14. Sickles (7-3)
This week: Wednesday vs. Robinson
Why they moved in: The Gryphons went 3-2 in the AHN tournament and ended with three straight wins. There is a good chance at increasing the win streak this week. It started with a 3-0 win over Alonso on Monday, which was a Class 7A, District 7 match. Next comes a challenge against Robinson.
15. Robinson (5-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Plant, Wednesday at Sickles
Whey they moved in: The week started with an impressive 3-0 win over Newsome on Monday. The schedule has been kind of light to start, but it heats up this week. The only two losses were to Bloomingdale in five sets and Wharton. The Knights appear to be the top team in Class 5A, District 6.
On the bubble
Keswick Christian (8-2), Tampa Catholic (8-4), Tampa Prep (9-4), Academy of the Holy Names (6-4), Indian Rocks Christian (8-5).