Wharton (16-9) at Osceola (14-6)
The Wildcats, who made the region quarterfinals last season, won four straight before losing to Newsome in the District 12 final. Bella Bonatakis, a junior, leads Wharton in kills (183) and blocks (78). The Kowboys, which lost to Steinbrenner in the region quarterfinals last season, are the District 11 champion. Osceola has a balanced lineup with no player leading in multiple statistical categories for the team.
Celebration (6-6) at Newsome (17-2)
The Wolves, who are back in the playoffs after a one-year absence, have won 13 straight matches going into the playoffs, including the District 12 final. Alexa Kosmopolis, a junior, leads the team in kills (130) and aces (30). This is the second time this month Newsome has faced the Storm. The Wolves won the first meeting 3-1.
Sickles (14-9) at Steinbrenner (16-7) * moved to Friday
The Gryphons are back in the playoffs after missing out last season. Kylie Stroehlein, a senior, leads Sickles in kills (302) and digs (213). The Warriors made national news last week after their junior varsity team filled in for the varsity players who were quarantining because of positive coronavirus tests. The junior varsity knocked off Palm Harbor University in five sets to win the District 13 title. The region quarterfinal match against Sickles was moved to Friday so the Steinbrenner players who were quarantining will be cleared to play. Live Mogridge, a junior, leads the Warriors in kills (155) and blocks (52) while fellow junior Mandy Knipp leads the team in assists (318) and aces (20).
Palm Harbor University (1-8) at Plant (18-8)
This one could be over quickly. The Hurricanes were winless heading into the District 13 tournament and beat Alonso to advance to the finals. PHU lost to Steinbrenner’s junior varsity squad in the championship match. The Panthers, meanwhile, cruised to the District 14 title. Sophia Kotsovolos leads Plant in digs (263) and aces (33) while senior Erin Morrissey, one of the state’s top players, leads the team in kills with 218.