Advertisement
  1. Sports

Region volleyball roundup: Palm Harbor University sweeps Durant

Published Oct. 31, 2015

DURANT — Palm Harbor University first-year coach Dexter Rogers sat in his courtside chair like he was watching a Saturday matinee. Relaxed and focused with minimal stress.

PHU (25-5), playing with the calmness that Rogers subscribes to, advanced to a region final for the second time in school history with a 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 victory at Durant.

The Hurricanes were in complete control. Durant (21-8) never led in Games 1 and 3, and on only four occasions in the middle game did the Cougars lead — each time by just one point.

"We did a good job of playing to our strengths," Rogers said. "We set well and we hit well, especially in big situations. (I want the team to have) clear minds, because when you get too excited, then you try to do too much. My biggest thing with the team is play within yourselves, just do your job, don't try to do anymore more or anything less."

PHU will play Tuesday against the Naples Gulf Coast-Venice winner.

Junior Emma Strong, who ended the first and third games with kills, led the Hurricanes with 16 kills.

"I looked for shots on the court placement-wise (deep baseline and sharp angles), rather than hitting it down every time," Strong said. "We all definitely worked really well together."

PHU, whose only previous trip to the finals in 12 previous regionals came in 2010 when the Hurricanes lost a three-game match to eventual state champion Winter Park, had 44 total kills. Julia Angelo had 21 digs for PHU, and Abby Strong contributed 37 assists.

Part of Rogers' plan was to keep the ball away from Durant's Charyari Ramos. She finished with eight kills, three less than team leader Emma Rustenberghe.

"We heard about No. 11 (Ramos), so we tried to limit her opportunities," Rogers said. "We did a good job."

Durant coach Brittany Wade said she knew PHU was good, but one thing impressed her.

"This far in the game, everybody has one stud or two studs — their No. 10 (Annamarie Huy and No. 23 (Strong) are amazing," Wade said. "But as a team, they made no errors. The game of volleyball is about errors. Every point, (PHU) was just always coming back.

"I can't say nothing went my way. I just feel so blessed to be here and be able to coach these girls. I learned how special these girls are. … They're fighters."

6A: Clearwater swept

CLEARWATER — For much of Game 1, Clearwater matched Charlotte serve for serve, kill for kill. But near the end, the Tarpons' front line began to wear out the Tornadoes. Charlotte scored six of the final seven points in Game 1 and never lost the momentum in a 25-19, 25-11, 25-18 sweep.

"That is the best team we've faced all season," Clearwater coach Katy Rice said. "Unfortunately we haven't seen those kind of hitters all season. They were very good at hitting it where our defense needed to be. It's hard to simulate that kind of team in practice."

Clearwater (18-11) matched Charlotte (21-3) from the beginning and held a 16-14 lead in the first game. Rachel Pohl, Carly Daniel, Hannah Sanders and Cheyann Williamson all played well at the net. Charlotte went on a 4-0 run to take an 18-16 lead. The teams then traded kills and after a Williamson kill, Clearwater cut the lead to 19-18.

Then the Tarpons turned up the heat at the net and got three kills and a block to in the final stretch to put the game away.

The second game did not start as well for Clearwater. Charlotte jumped out to an 8-2 lead and after a 6-0 run it led 17-4. Clearwater never scored more than two straight points in the game and eased to a 2-0 lead.

"In that situation we have to get tough between the ears," Rice said. "That team picks on whoever may be struggling and they go for it. They were thirsty, out for blood. That's how I want my players to be."

Clearwater hung in early in the third game. The Tornadoes scored four straight points, thanks to an ace and kill from Daniel, and took a 7-6 lead. But Charlotte kept hammering away at the net and got five straight points to take a 17-13 lead.

The match ended when a Clearwater kill attempt was blocked.

This is the first time Clearwater has played Charlotte since 1999, when the Tornadoes won in the region semifs. Rice was a member of the that Clearwater team.

"I was hoping to get my second win against them,'' Rice said.

5A: Dunedin rallied from two games down to take Naples Lely to five before losing 25-14, 25-18, 23-25, 16-25, 15-12. The final point in the fifth game came on a rotation violation by Dunedin (13-8).

"They said my setter moved too quickly on the serve," Dunedin coach Kassy Will said. "I've never seen a game end that way."

Will said she didn't expect the match to go five games, especially the way things started.

"We were a little intimidated watching them warm up," Will said. "I don't have any club players. After the season, they go play other sports. When you get to this level, you are playing teams with all club players. But once our girls settled down and started having fun, we started playing well. I've never seen my team play that well."

Will said Olivia Welsh was once again a stand out. She had nearly 20 kills and played well in the back.

3A: Carrollwood Day (24-2) keeps rolling, dispatching Calvary Christian 25-19, 25-16, 25-14.

Staff writer Rodney Page contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The Rays' Yonny Chirinos, shown here pitching on July 23, 2019, at the Trop. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The right-hander, out since early August with right middle finger inflammation, works one inning of relief Saturday.
  2. Rays starter Tyler Glasnow pitches against the Red Sox during the first inning Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at Tropicana Field. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Tyler Glasnow sets the tone; Joey Wendle’s bad out; Willy Adames’ power shot.
  3. According to unofficial statistics, the Rays have wasted more power drinks than any team in baseball. Tampa Bay's seven walkoff victories since the beginning of August are the most in the majors. This time, it's Nate Lowe getting the cold refreshment treatment after his two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th beat the Red Sox 5-4.  CHRIS O'MEARA | AP Photo CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    The team that could not win one-run games in the first half of the season won its third consecutive game in the 11th inning against the Red Sox on Saturday.
  4. The playoff-bound Rowdies are giving fans plenty of reasons to cheer. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    With better postseason seeding a possibility, Tampa Bay blasts Bethlehem Steel FC 6-1.
  5. Palm Harbor University sweeps the boys and girls team titles at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference swim meet on Saturday at the Long Center. BOB PUTNAM  |  Times
    The Hurricane girls were expected to cruise; the road to a conference title for the boys would be tougher. Both excelled.
  6. Academy at the Lakes' McKenna Smith, pictured here at state last season, appears to be a lock for another deep postseason run. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    McKenna Smith, Caleb Kravitz appear to have a leg up on the competition as the postseason gets closer.
  7. A shirtless Nate Lowe celebrates with his Rays teammates after his walkoff, two-run homer off Red Sox reliever Josh Smith during the 11th inning on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at the Trop. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Nate Lowe is the star on Saturday with a two-run homer after Diego Castillo gave up the lead.
  8. Earlier today• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State coach Willie Taggart shouts instructions in the second half against Louisville in Tallahassee. Florida State defeated Louisville 35-24. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    Fennelly: The Seminoles rally after blowing the lead against Louisville. Expect to hold your breath every week.
  9. Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) celebrates with teammates after he caught a pass for a touchdown against UCF during the second half. KEITH SRAKOCIC  |  AP
    The Panthers end the Knights’ 25-game regular-season win streak on the “Pitt Special.”
  10. Rays host the Red Sox and more sports on the air.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement