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High school volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay, Week 9

Not much change at the top as teams head into postseason play.
Clearwater Central Catholic junior Kylie White, left and junior Aubrey Geis are gearing up for a long postseason run. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]
Published Oct. 14
Updated Oct. 14

The final week of the regular season didn’t do much to change our final rankings. Clearwater Central Catholic ended the season playing in a competitive tournament while Osceola ended the season undefeated. Now it’s time for district tournaments, where teams have to reach the final to move on to next week’s region quarterfinals.

1. Clearwater Central Catholic (21-4)

This week: Tuesday at 3A-5 district tournament at Northside Christian, vs. Northside Christian/St. Petersburg Catholic winner

Why they stayed put: The Marauders finished up the regular season at the Orlando Bishop Moore Swing for the Cure tournament. It ended up 3-1 at the tournament, which included a loss to Longwood Lyman, the 12th-ranked team in the state and a Class 7A state contender. CCC is currently ranked third in the state by MaxPreps. The Marauders need to put that loss behind them quickly. The district tournament likely come down to CCC and Calvary Christian, with the winner hosting the regional quarterfinal the following week.

2. Osceola (21-0)

This week: Wednesday at 5A-7 district tournament vs. Northeast/Hardee winner

Why they stayed put: The Warriors didn’t lose in the regular season. The district tournament should not be an obstacle, so they should be playing for at least two more weeks. Osceola has never won a state volleyball championship but there is reason to be optimistic this season. Kalli Cors and Sandy Cao have been big at the net. Abbie Busch has 36 blocks and Nicole Fowler has 312 assists.

3. Calvary Christian (22-2)

This week: Tuesday at 3A-6 district tournament vs. IRC/Shorecrest winner

Why they stayed put: The regular season ended with wins over Tarpon Springs and Countryside. Now it’s on to a highly competitive district tournament. The Warriors haven’t dropped a set in four straight matches. If everything goes as planned, Calvary Christian should take on CCC on Thursday in the district final. One of the Warriors’ two losses was to the Marauders in the regular season, 3-1.

4. Bishop McLaughlin (22-3)

This week: Tuesday at 3A-5 district tournament vs. Tampa Prep/Brooks DeBartolo winner

Why they stayed put: The Hurricanes had one match last week but it was a good one. They defeated Sarasota Riverview, ranked 13th in the state, 3-2. Bishop McLaughlin is currently ranked 16th. The Hurricanes have played a tough schedule all season and should be prepared for this time of year. Of course, there are three freshman starters who have not been through the postseason so a return trip to the state final is not guaranteed.

5. Steinbrenner (21-4)

This week: Wednesday at 7A-7 district tournament vs. Sickles/PHU winner

Why they stayed put: The Warriors swept Sickles and Wiregrass Ranch to end the regular season. Now comes the tough task of trying to advance out of Class 7A, District 7. They are the top seed, but Plant is just as good at No. 2. Then there is a solid Wharton squad at No. 3. Hard to imagine there being a tougher district. Steinbrenner has only lost to two area teams, Calvary Christian and Plant. Whoever makes it out of this district can go far.

6. St. Petersburg (22-3)

This week: Wednesday at 6A-6 tournament vs. Seminole/Pinellas Park winner

Why they stayed put: After a week off, the Green Devils are likely itching to get back on the court. It starts with the district tournament, in which they will be heavily favored. Kate Youmans ended the season with a team-high 195 kills. Nicole Robison had 50 aces, 209 digs and 587 assists. St. Petersburg is deep and experienced, which should make for a long postseason.

7. Plant (18-7)

This week: Tuesday at 7A-7 district tournament vs. Alonso

Why they stayed put: The regular season ended with a sweep of Bloomingdale. The Panthers are the No. 2 seed in the district tournament behind Steinbrenner, but they should probably be the 1B seed. Plant, which beat Steinbrenner on Sept. 18, spreads out the offense with Birdie Frierson, Elizabeth Price, Reese Friar and Sam Caglianone all over 100 kills. Georgia Lowe has 292 assists and Sophie Fleeger has 207. The Panthers are a much better team now than when the season began.

8. Wharton (19-3)

This week: Tuesday at 7A-7 district tournament vs. Riverview

Why they stayed put: The regular season ended with a sweep of Freedom. The Wildcats needed that after losing to Plant the match before. They are the No. 3 seed in the district tournament, which is startling after a 19-win season and speaks to the district’s depth. Jeanette Henderson is the main offensive weapon with 187 kills. But Deborah Rodriguez, Jamie Koopman, Isabella Bonatakis and Lexi Morse all have over 100 kills. Jacqueline Kelley has 276 digs to lead the defense.

9. Sunlake (17-5)

This week: Wednesday at 6A-5 district tournament vs. Mitchell/Gaither winner

Why they stayed put: The Seahawks have won four straight after losing to Wharton in the final of its tournament. That included wins over Pasco and Wesley Chapel last week. They are the No. 1 seed in the district tournament, but did lose to No. 2 seed East Lake in the second match of the season. Things have changed a bit since then, but Sunlake should still be able to earn a region spot.

10. Carrollwood Day (17-8)

This week: Tuesday at 3A-5 district tournament vs. Berkeley Prep/Seffner Christian winner

Why they stayed put: The Patriots played two matches on Saturday to end the regular season. They went 1-1 with a win over Sarasota Out-of-Door and a 3-2 loss to Lake Worth Christian, which is 20-4. That should get them ready for what should be a challenging district tournament. Expect them to meet Berkeley Prep in the semifinals, which will not be easy. Then there is top seed Bishop McLaughlin to deal with.

11. East Lake (18-6)

This week: Wednesday at 6A-5 district tournament vs. Freedom/Wiregrass Ranch winner

Why they moved up: The Eagles needed to rebound after losing two matches at the PCAC tournament. They did, winning three straight, including victories over River Ridge and Lakeland last week. Now comes the task of getting out of a tough district. A second-round match against Wiregrass Ranch is likely. They beat the Bulls to open the season. They also beat top-seeded Sunlake, so the Eagles have a very real chance of winning this district.

12. Wiregrass Ranch (13-5)

This week: Tuesday at 6A-5 district tournament vs. Freedom

Why they moved down: The Bulls ran into Steinbrenner last week, falling 3-0. They must regroup quickly for the district tournament, where they are the No. 3 seed behind Sunlake and East Lake. The Bulls can be competitive in the tournament and have a shot at getting to regionals.

13. Tampa Prep (18-7)

This week: Monday at 3A-5 district tournament vs. Brooks DeBartolo

Why they moved up: The Terrapins may be a No. 4 seed in the tournament, but they are not pushovers. They have won five straight and have not lost a set heading into the district tournament. Gracie Kiser has an impressive 280 kills. Lauren Maya has 56 aces and Pilar Taylor has 610 assists.

14. Northside Christian (16-8)

This week: Monday at 3A-6 tournament vs. St. Petersburg Catholic

Whey they moved down: The Mustangs had a 3-0 loss to CCC last week, but bounced back to end the regular season with a sweep of Boca Ciega. There is a quick turnaround with a district tournament match today. This is a killer district and they must pull off an upset to get to regionals. Emilia Harding ended with 192 kills.

15. Indian Rocks Christian (15-6)

This week: Monday at 3A-6 district tournament vs. Shorecrest

Why they moved in: The Golden Eagles swept Keswick Christian and Northeast to end the regular season. It gets much more difficult now. If they do move on in the district tournament they will have to face top seed Calvary Christian. Jewel Lester had a good regular season with 215 kills, 33 aces and 283 digs.

On the bubble

Keswick Christian (19-4), Academy of the Holy Names (13-9), Hillsborough (11-2), Wesley Chapel (14-10), Robinson (9-4), Berkeley Prep (12-12), Tampa Catholic (14-11), Weeki Wachee (12-8)

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Seffner Christian's Michael Trigg is tied for the state lead in receiving touchdowns with 15, while his overall yards (1,054) rank among the top 10. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The two-sport star, who led the Crusaders to the state final in boys hoops, is trying to do the same in football.
  2. On a team full of playmakers, TJ Tampa makes the most of his limited time in the spotlight, averaging 20 yards per catch. He has 25 receptions for 501 yards and nine touchdowns. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    When you boast the receiving, and basketball, skills that this Iowa State commit does, fitting in isn’t really an issue.
  3. Tampa Catholic coach Jeris McIntyre has the Crusaders heading in the right direction, which includes an appearance in a Class 4A region final against Lakewood on Friday night. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Crusaders, who have reached the region finals, are certainly practicing what coach Jeris McIntyre preaches.
  4. Lake Wales running back Johnny Richardson races away from Sebring defender Ethan McMillan during a Class 5A region playoff game in Lake Wales on Nov. 8. PIERRE DUCHARME  |  The Ledger
    Armwood, Gaither and Jesuit may have their hands full on Friday night.
  5. USF placekicker Spencer Shrader (32) watches his missed field goal against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Bulls have expressed support for the Newsome High alumnus since his four missed field goals Saturday.
  6. Tampa Bay Tech's Janiah Barker was among the state's top freshmen last season. Can she lead the Titans to a second straight state title? Times
    We spotlight 26 of the area’s talented players as the 2019-20 season gets underway.
  7. There's no doubt Kobe Knox and Tampa Catholic have one of the toughest boys basketball schedules in the state ... possibly the nation. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The contenders, like the Tampa Catholic boys and defending state champ Tampa Bay Tech girls, aren’t leaving their fates to just district matchups.
  8. Northside Christian did not have an answer for Seffner Christian receiver Michael Trigg, who burned the Mustangs for five touchdowns in the teams’ Class 2A, Region 3 semifinal. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Sunday Morning Quarterback: Rematch revenge, prolific offensive outings, road warriors and more from the region semifinals.
  9. High school football teams around Tampa Bay competed in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Times
    The Warriors take the lead for good with less than four minutes to play in knocking off top-seeded Sarasota Riverview.
  10. Northside Christian did not have an answer for Seffner Christian receiver Michael Trigg, right, during Friday's Class 2A region semifinal. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The duo accounts for five touchdowns as the Crusaders roll past Northside Christian.
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