Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. HomeTeam

Palm Harbor University upsets top-seeded Steinbrenner

Playing like they have nothing to lose, the Hurricanes pull out a five-set win in the district semifinals.
Big celebration for Palm Harbor University, inlcuding Alexa Rangel, left, and Lulu Sondgerath, second from right, after winning the third set of a five-set victory over Steinbrenner. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]
Published Oct. 17
Updated Oct. 17

LUTZ — Barely anyone gave Palm Harbor University a chance against Steinbrenner Wednesday night.

Why would they?

Steinbrenner was 21-4 and ranked No. 7 in Class 7A. Palm Harbor University, meantime, was 12-11, ranked No. 38 in Class 7A, had lost to Steinbrenner earlier this season and knew the only way it could qualify for the playoffs was to win the Class 7A, District 7, one of the toughest districts in the state.

PHU not only pulled out a five-set victory but the Hurricanes did it in about the most dramatic way possible, losing the first set 25-8 before loosening up and finishing out the match by taking the second and third sets 26-24 and 25-20, losing the fourth 25-14 and winning the fifth 15-10.

“No doubt that was crazy,” PHU senior captain Katy Cameron said. “There were emotions all over the place.”

After the first-set demolition, Cameron said the team came to the sideline and suddenly, completely, relaxed because, “At that point we said, ‘We really have nothing to lose. Let’s just go for it.’”

Did they ever.

Palm Harbor University players celebrate along with coach Karly Padilla. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

Fellow seniors Claire Patterson, Lulu Sondgerath, Alexis Kostolovos, Ava Schilling and Rhiannon Gartner, along with sophomores Alexa Rangel, Acacia Hager, Sophia Kosttolovos and freshman Addison Engel, played and cheered free and easy.

Did they get tight when Steinbrenner grabbed a 22-19 lead in the second set? No way.

They simply proceeded to win seven of the next nine points.

“We still felt like we had nothing to lose,” Cameron said. “That was it.”

After taking the third set, however, Cameron said, “I think we got overconfident. I think we thought we were just going to go ahead and win.”

Steinbrenner bounced back with authority to take the fourth set.

In the fifth, Cameron believed the key was taking a 10-7 lead.

“I think it got a little too real for (Steinbrenner) when we got to double digits,” Cameron said. “They seemed to get a little tight (miss hitting open kills and serving a couple of balls into the net).”

PHU stayed loose and, of course, went on to win, setting up a district final Thursday night at Plant, which dominated the Hurricanes in three sets Sept. 9.

“(After beating Steinbrenner on Wednesday) I told them, ‘Now we get to go to the big party for free. Hey, we still have nothing to lose. So let’s go for it again like we did tonight,’” coach Karly Padilla said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. High school football teams around Tampa Bay competed in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Times
    The Blue Jackets also get revenge for a regular-season loss to the Lancers.
  6. High school football teams around Tampa Bay competed in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Times
    The Hawks and Bloomingdale both have trouble holding on to the ball, but defense again is key for Armwood.
  7. High school football teams around Tampa Bay competed in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Times
    Everything clicks per usual for the unbeaten Spartans, who were coming off a bye week and will face Tampa Catholic next.
  8. High school football teams around Tampa Bay competed in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Times
    Johnny Newton scores all three Marauders’ touchdowns in extra time as CCC dispatches Berkeley Prep.
  9. High school football teams around Tampa Bay competed in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Times
    The Packers do a good job of containing Kyeandre Magloire, but the same can’t be said of Lake Minneola’s quarterback.
  10. High school football teams around Tampa Bay competed in the second round of the playoffs Friday night. Times
    The Titans aren’t intimidated by powerhouse Lakeland, always within striking distance (if not in the lead) before falling by a touchdown.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement