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Volleyball: Region semifinal wrap-up (Classes 7A-5A)

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Class 7A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 7A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

Plant 3, Steinbrenner 1

Playing a challenging schedule yields few easy nights for the Panthers. But that prepares them for the matches that matter most. 

Plant had momentum entering Wednesday’s region semifinals. After all, the Panthers swept its last six matches, including one over defending Class 3A state champion Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.

There also was plenty of incentive. 

After dominating the Warriors for years, Plant lost twice to its district rival during the regular season. 

The struggles continued early on. The Panthers watched its streak of six straight sweeps end when they lost the first set.

But the frustrations did not last. 

Plant bore down after that, winning 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-20. Erin Morrissey, one of the state’s top-ranked players in the 2021 class, made a difference at the net to lead the Panthers’ offense. 

Kissimmee Osceola 3, Newsome 2

For the second straight season, the Wolves fell to the Kowboys in the semifinals. 

This time, Newsome had its chances. 

The Wolves won two of the first three sets and were on the verge of advancing. 

Then the lead — and the match — slipped away. 

Osceola rallied in the final two sets to win 19-25, 25-18, 11-25, 25-19, 15-9 to win. 

Alexa Kosmopolis had 18 digs and 14 kills to lead Newsome.. 

Class 6A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 6A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

St. Petersburg 3, East Lake 2

The Green Devils are in the region final for the first time after outlasting their fiercest — and most familiar — rival. 

St. Petersburg had faced the Eagles seven times in the past four seasons. The Green Devils won each time. 

To continue that success, St. Petersburg had to constantly battle. Each set was close — the first four were each decided by two points — as the ebb and flow constantly changed with every serve. 

In the fifth and deciding set, the Green Devils took control to win 24-26, 25-23, 26-24, 26-28, 15-10. 

St. Petersburg had four players reach double figures in kills, led by Kate Youmans with 16. Jordan Bunce also stood out with 15 kills and 13 digs.

Hillsborough 3, Plant City 2

By surviving a marathon semifinal match, the Terriers made history, reaching the region finals for the first time. 

It was not easy. 

Two of the first three sets were decided by two points. Hillsborough won both of those but was never able to put the match away until the fifth and final set to win 25-23. 14-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-10. 

Mallory Smith had a team-high 24 kills for the Raiders. 

Class 5A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 5A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

Robinson 3, Land O’ Lakes 0

The Knights advanced to the region finals for the first time since 2017 by sweeping the Gators 25-11, 25-19, 25-10. 

Robinson won all three meetings with Land O’ Lakes this season via sweeps. 

Mila Yarich and Maddie Hills were dominant at the net for the Knights. 

Fivay 3, Lecanto 0

The Falcons are in familiar territory, reaching the region finals for the third time in the past four seasons. 

They did it with relative ease, sweeping the Panthers 25-15, 25-22, 25-23.

After starting the season 6-12, Fivay has won seven straight matches, including four via sweeps. 

Makayla Way had 14 digs and 13 kills and Chayla Wade added 13 digs and 13 kills to lead the Falcons in Wednesday’s semifinals. 

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Thursday night football forecast

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Seffner Christian (2-3) at St. Petersburg Catholic (3-3), 7

After starting 2-0, the visiting Crusaders have lost three straight. The host Barons, meanwhile, have rebounded from a 1-2 start to win two of their last three games. 

Putnam’s prediction: St. Petersburg Catholic 30-28

Gibbs (3-3) at Tarpon Springs (3-3), 7

An important Class 5A, District 10 game for both teams not only to stay in the mix for a title but also to get above .500 for the season. 

Putnam’s prediction: Gibbs 34-21 

Clearwater (5-1) at Anclote (1-5), 7:30

The Tornadoes have won five straight and are the clear favorite to the Class 5A, District 10 title. The host Sharks are on a two-game losing streak. 

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater 42-7

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Thursday sports schedule (Oct. 14)

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What to watch

Volleyball

Sunlake (12-5) at Wesley Chapel (13-4), 6

The Seahawks, who have won four straight, try to maintain their streak against the Wildcats in a rematch from last week that Sunlake took in five sets. 

Palm Harbor University (14-8) at Mitchell (18-0), 6:30

The Mustangs have a shot at going undefeated in the regular season. To do that, Mitchell has get the Hurricanes, who have turned things around. 

St. Petersburg (15-8) at East Lake (16-7), 7

The Pinellas County Athletic Conference final is between teams with impressive streaks. The Green Devils have won seven straight while the host Eagles have won five in a row. East Lake has owned the series this season, sweeping its rival in the previous three meetings. 

Newsome (16-7) at Bloomingdale (11-5), 7:30

Both teams have won three straight heading into their regular season finale. 

The schedules

Volleyball

Solid Rock Christian at Grace Christian, 4:30

Zephyrhills Christian at Hernando Christian, 5

Hillsborough Baptist at Foundation Christian, 5

Tampa Prep at Ocala Trinity Catholic, 5:30

Oldsmar Christian at Elfers Christian, 5:30

Brandon Academy at Universal Academy, 6

Sunlake at Wesley Chapel, 6

Tampa Bay HEAT at Shorecrest, 6

Weeki Wachee at Hernando, 6:30

Wiregrass Ranch at Anclote, 6:30

Carrollwood Day at Calvary Christian, 6:30

Citrus at Nature Coast, 6:30

Palm Harbor University at Mitchell, 6:30

St. Petersburg Catholic at Sarasota Christian, 7

Zephyrhills at Gulf, 7

Gulf Coast HEAT at Tampa SLAM, 7

Seven Rivers Christian at Cambridge Christian, 7

Alonso at Freedom, 7

Crystal River at Springstead, 7

St. Petersburg at East Lake, 7

Central at Lecanto, 7:30

Sumner at Brandon, 7:30

Cypress Creek at Pasco, 7:30

Tampa Bay Tech at Gaither, 7:30

River Ridge at Hudson, 7:30

Riverview at East Bay, 7:30

Newsome at Bloomingdale, 7:30

Spoto at Durant, 7:30

Middleton at Leto, 7:30

Plant at Robinson, 7:30

Jefferson at Armwood, 7:30

Indian Rocks Christian at Countryside, 7:30

Swimming

Plant at Berkeley Prep, 5

Tampa Prep at Berkeley Prep, 5:30

Lennard, Riverview at East Bay (Apollo Beach), 6

Blake, Leto at Hillsborough (Copeland), 6

Spoto, Tampa Bay Tech at Plant City (Plant CityYMCA), 6

Freedom at Academy of the Holy Names, 6:30

Steinbrenner, Wharton at Robinson (Bobby Hicks), 6:30

Gaither at Middleton (Cyrus Green), 6:30

Spoto, Sumner at Jefferson (Interbay), 6:30

Brandon, Tampa Bay HEAT at Bloomingdale (High five), 7

Golf 

East Bay at Riverview (boys), 2

Hillsborough at Leto (boys), 2:30

Freedom at Jesuit (boys), 2:30

Alonso at Chamberlain (boys), 3

Sickles at Jefferson (boys/girls), 3

Steinbrenner at Gaither (boys), 3

Newsome at Plant City (boys), 3

Sumner at King (boys/girls), 3:30

Plant at Robinson (boys), 3:30

Berkeley Prep at Tampa Prep, 4

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Volleyball: Hillsborough County Top 15

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The top of the rankings stays the same heading into the final week of the regular season. But there was plenty of movement in the rest of the top 15.

1. Berkeley Prep (22-2)

Up next: Idle

Last spot: No. 1

Why they stayed put: The Buccaneers, ranked fifth in the nation, closed out the regular season on a 15-match win streak, including sweeps over Newsome and Tampa Bay HEAT last week. Berkeley Prep can now focus on the ultra-competitive Class 3A, District 5 tournament, which starts on Oct. 18. 

2. Steinbrenner (21-2)

Up next: Monday at Blake; Tuesday vs. Plant

Last spot: No. 2

Why they stayed put: The Warriors, ranked No. 3 in Class 7A, have won 10 straight matches, including a sweep over Alonso in their only match last week. Steinbrenner closes out the regular season with an anticipated matchup against Plant that could serve as a preview of the Class 7A, District 7 final. 

3. Plant (18-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Steinbrenner; Wednesday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic; Thursday at Robinson

Last spot: No. 3

Why they stayed put: The Panthers, the state’s top team in 7A according to MaxPreps, have won seven straight, all via sweeps. The match against Steinbrenner is not the only tough one this week. Plant also faces Clearwater Central Catholic on Wednesday. 

4. Tampa Prep (18-5)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay HEAT; Thursday at Ocala Trinity Catholic

Last spot: No. 4

Why they stayed put: The Terrapins are on a three-match win streak after sweeping Academy of the Holy Names last week. Two of Tampa Prep’s five losses this season have come against Berkeley Prep and Plant, both ranked ahead of the Terrapins. 

5. Riverview (13-3)

Up next: Monday at Leto; Thursday at East Bay

Last spot: No. 6

Why they moved up: After starting the season 1-3, the Sharks have won 12 straight matches, including sweeps over Robinson and Durant last week. Riverview will try to keep that streak going with matches against Leto on Monday and East Bay on Thursday to close out the regular season. 

6. Academy of the Holy Names (15-8)

Up next: Tuesday at Osceola

Last spot: No. 5 

Why they moved down: The Jaguars split their two matches last week, sweeping Tampa Bay HEAT and getting swept by Tampa Prep. Academy of the Holy Names travels to Osceola on Tuesday for its regular season finale. 

7. Newsome (15-7)

Up next: Tuesday at Tampa Bay Tech; Thursday at Bloomingdale

Last spot: No. 7

Why they stayed put: The Wolves won their only match last week, sweeping Lennard. Newsome finishes the regular season with matches against Tampa Bay Tech on Tuesday and Bloomingdale on Thursday. 

8. Wharton (13-7)

Up next: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest

Why they stayed put: The Wildcats swept King to extend their win streak to five. Wharton will maintain that streak when it travels to play Strawberry Crest in Tuesday’s regular season finale. 

9. Bloomingdale (11-5)

Up next: Thursday vs. Newsome

Last spot: No. 10

Why they moved up: The Bulls had a solid week, beating Strawberry Crest in five sets and sweeping Sumner to extend their win streak to three. Another challenge comes Thursday when Bloomingdale hosts Newsome in the regular season finale. 

10. Sickles (13-10)

Up next: Monday at Wiregrass Ranch; Tuesday at Gaither

Last spot: No. 9

Why they moved down: The Gryphons split their two matches last week, sweeping Blake and getting swept by Plant. That tough schedule will help Sickles stay competitive in the Class 7A, District 7 tournament that starts Oct. 18. 

11. Plant City (8-4)

Up next: Monday at Lennard

Last spot: No. 15

Why they moved up: The Raiders have won four of their last five matches, including a sweep over East Bay in their only match last week. Plant City finishes the regular season with a match against Lennard on Monday. 

12. Strawberry Crest (12-5)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Wharton

Why they moved down: The Chargers split their two matches last week, losing in five sets to Bloomingdale and sweeping Leto. Strawberry Crest hosts Wharton on Tuesday in the regular season finale. 

13. Freedom (8-2)

Up next: Tuesday at Hillsborough; Thursday vs. Alonso

Last spot: No. 13

Why they stayed put: Though the schedule has been light, the Patriots have played well. They beat Gaither in five sets in their only match last week. Freedom’s two losses came against Wharton and Strawberry Crest. 

14. Carrollwood Day (13-10)

Up next: Tuesday at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney; Thursday at Calvary Christian

Last spot: No. 12

Why they moved down: The Patriots split their two matches last week, sweeping Patel and getting swept by Bishop McLaughlin. All of Carrollwood Day’s losses this season have come against quality opponents. 

15. Tampa Catholic (12-10)

Up next: Tuesday at Shorecrest

Last spot: No. 14

Why they moved down: The Crusaders will try to snap out of their four-match losing streak when they travel to play Shorecrest in the regular season finale. 

On the bubble: Gaither (6-3) , Sumner (8-8), Cambridge Christian (12-10)

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