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Wiregrass Ranch peaks at right time of the volleyball season

The Bulls dispatch top seeds East Lake and Sunlake en route to the Class 6A-5 title.

LAND O’ LAKES — All season long, the Wiregrass Ranch volleyball team has persistently built, sharpened and refined. No doubt, the Bulls have improved.

The question before this week’s Class 6A, District 5 tournament: Did they improve enough to take the title against a host of formidable teams.

The answer came Thursday night in the district title game with a sound beating of host Sunlake — 25-18, 25-14, 25-22 — a victory that followed Wednesday’s 3-1 semifinal victory over a tough East Lake squad.

“I would say we have steadily come together through the season and now we’re playing more as a complete team,” Wiregrass Ranch senior Crystal Faddoul said. “We’ve improved so much.”

Wiregrass Ranch sophomore Kayla Baer neatly sets another ball for a kill during a 25-18, 25-13, 25-22 victory over Sunlake. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

For more proof, consider that earlier this season Sunlake defeated Wiregrass 3-0 and East Lake defeated the Bulls 3-1.

“It does feel so good to come back and win now after those losses,” Wiregrass coach Robin Holowiak said. “I’m so proud for these girls.”

The best part is that there is more volleyball to play, beginning with a first-round region game Wednesday, a game the Bulls (16-5) will host.

If Wiregrass plays like this next week — performances that included deft setting by sophomore Kayla Baer and tough hitting and blocking by Faddoul, Kayla McCarter, Alexis Driggers and Zoi Evans, among others — who knows how far the Bulls might go.

“Everything is more consistent,” Baer said. “We are playing better than ever.”

In the second set Thursday, Wiregrass started as well as it ever has, jumping to 8-0 and 15-1 leads, all but taking the wind out of Sunlake (18-6).