Steinbrenner’s junior varsity team
Last week, Steinbrenner’s volleyball program was in a bind.
The varsity team was dealing positive coronavirus cases and had to continue quarantining. Unable to play in the Class 7A, District 13 final, the No. 1 seed Warriors were left with a choice.
Either forfeit the title match or let the junior varsity program take its place.
It was an easy decision.
And the junior varsity not only filled in for the night. They won the district title, beating Palm Harbor University’s varsity in five sets. Word spread fast about what Steinbrenner accomplished.
This past weekend, they were featured twice on SportsCenter.
On Friday, the varsity team will be cleared to play and will take on Sickles in the region quarterfinals. Instead of playing, the junior varsity will be in the stands cheering.
But they can take solace in knowing they won a district title few would have thought was possible a week ago.
The fan’s selection
MH Olivia Aniol, Jr., East Lake
Since joining varsity as a freshman, Olivia Aniol has continued to take on more prominent roles in East Lake’s lineup.
As her playing time increased, so did her numbers.
This season, the junior ranks first on the Eagles in kills (272), blocks (98) and is tied for the team lead in aces (32). Those are all career-highs.
But Aniol’s performance has been about more than just impressive stats.
She also has helped East Lake stay among the area’s elite programs.
That was evident last week when Aniol had 29 digs, 17 kills and 6 blocked shots to lead the Eagles to a five-set victory over Sunlake in the Class 6A, District 5 title.
The fans agreed. In a tight battle, Aniol received more than 42 percent of the votes (28,690) to edge out Plant City’s Bailey Blanton, who had more than 39 percent of the votes (27,085).