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Volleyball: State semifinals breakdown

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Class 7A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 7A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

Lake Nona (19-3) at Plant (21-8), 2 p.m.

How they got here: Lake Nona d. Olympia 3-0, d. Windermere 3-0, d. Kissimmee Osceola 3-0; Plant d. PHU 3-0, d. Steinbrenner 3-1, d. Vero Beach 3-1.  

Top players: Lake Nona: OH Isabella Rujano, Jr. (193 kills); L Yulianna Amador, Sr. (241 receptions, 180 digs, 21 aces); S Nyah Molina, Sr. (293 assists); MB Gabriella Karman, Sr. (21 blocks); Plant: OH Erin Morrissey, Sr. (362 receptions, 281 kills); L Sophia Kotsovolos, Jr. (345 digs, 45 aces); S Sophie Fleeger, Sr. (298 assists); MH Reese Friar, Jr. (53 blocks). 

Outlook: This is one of the best semifinal matches in any classification. Lake Nona, which is ranked second in 7A and eighth overall in the state by MaxPreps, is playing in the state semifinals for the first time. The Lions are on a 14-match win streak and have swept their last four. Plant, ranked third in 7A and 14th overall in the state, is playing in the state semifinals for the fifth time in the past six years. The Panthers are trying to reach the final for the first time since 2018. 

Class 6A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 6A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

Tallahassee Leon (10-0) at St. Petersburg (16-3), 2 p.m.

How they got here: Leon d. Fleming Island 3-2, d. Cypress Creek 3-2, d. Niceville 3-0; St. Petersburg d. Sunlake 3-0, d. East Lake 3-2, d. Ocala Forest 3-1. 

Top players: Leon: OH Cailin Demps, Jr. (167 kills); S Alexa Washington, Jr. (368 assists, 115 digs); MH Macy Maxwell, Sr. (153 receptions); S Naomi Somerset (19 aces); MB Sydni Hunter, So. (25 blocks); St. Petersburg: OH Kate Youmans, Sr. (167 kills); L Livvi Harting, Jr. (393 receptions, 346 digs); S Nicole Robison, Sr. (653 assists); MB Jenna Davs, Jr. (67 blocks); OH Jordan Bunce, So. (34 aces). 

Outlook: Leon, the defending state champion, is playing in the state semifinals for the fifth straight season. The Panthers are ranked first in 6A, second overall in the state and 18th nationally by MaxPreps. They are undefeated, though two of their last three matches have gone to five sets. This is the second straight match St. Petersburg has faced an undefeated opponent. Last week, the Green Devils handed Ocala Forest its first and only loss in the region final. That put St. Petersburg (No. 6 in 6A) in the state semifinals for the first time. 

Class 5A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 5A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

Robinson (15-5) at Jensen Beach (20-1), 2 p.m.

How they got here: Robinson d. Hardee 3-0, d. Land O’ Lakes 3-0, d. Port Charlotte 3-1; Jensen Beach d. American Heritage 3-0, d. Archbishop McCarthy 3-2, d. Merritt Island 3-2. 

Top players: Robinson: OH Mila Yarich, Sr. (197 receptions, 191 kills, 149 digs, 57 aces); S Jill Tanke, Sr. (221 assists); MH Katie Kemp, Sr. (68 blocks); Jensen Beach: OH Naiya Sawtelle, Sr. (317 kills, 233 digs); S Raegan Richardson, Fr. (639 assists, 53 aces); L Lauren Askeland, Sr. (394 receptions); MH Lindsay Walch, So. (47 blocks).

Outlook: Robinson, ranked 14th in 5A, is playing in the state semifinals for the first time since 2017. The Knights have plenty of momentum, winning 10 of their last 11 matches, including eight via sweeps. The lone loss during that stretch was to Plant last month. Jensen Beach, ranked fifth in 5A, also is playing in the state semifinals for the first time since 2017. The Falcons’ lone loss was to Fort Pierce Central back in September. 

Class 4A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 4A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

Jacksonville Bishop Kenny (19-8) at Academy of the Holy Names (18-8), 2 p.m.

How they got here: Bishop Kenny d. Baker County 3-0, d. Yulee 3-1, d. Alachua Santa Fe 3-2; Academy of the Holy Names d. DeSoto County 3-0, d. LeBelle 3-0, d. Weeki Wachee 3-0. 

Top players: Bishop Kenny: OH Allison Cavanaugh, So. (262 kills, 52 blocks); S Alexis Chin, Sr. (775 assists, 39 aces); L Tina Nika, Jr. (453 digs, 384 receptions); Academy of the Holy Names: Oh Kinsley Warbritton, So. (389 receptions, 216 kills, 41 aces); S Morgan Garlick, Jr. (395 assists); L Olivia Mortellaro, Sr. (275 digs); OH Mia Zazzero, Sr. (43 blocks). 

Outlook:  Bishop Kenny is back in the state semifinals after missing the final four for the first time in eight seasons last year. The Crusaders are ranked second in 4A and have won five straight matches, including an impressive 3-2 state title contender Alachua Santa Fe in the region final. Academy of the Holy Names is making its second straight state semifinal appearance. The Jaguars, ranked third in 4A, have won each of their last six matches via sweeps. 

Class 3A

2020 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships 3A FHSAA Girls Volleyball

Ocala Trinity Catholic (16-6) at Bishop McLaughlin (24-2), 2 p.m.

How they got here: Trinity Catholic d. Orangewood Christian 3-0, d. Trinity Prep 3-0, d. Pensacola Catholic 3-1; Bishop McLaughlin d. Northside Christian 3-0, d. Carrollwood Day 3-0, d. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 3-1. 

Top players: Trinity Catholic: OH Kiana Laborde, So., (364 receptions, 281 kills); S Isabella Sanchez, Sr. (421 assists, 31 aces); L McKenna Yates, Fr. (317 digs); MB Elayana Johnson, Fr. (58 blocks);  Bishop McLaughlin: OH Audrey Koenig, Sr., (374 kills, 26 aces); L Adrianna Lopez, Sr. (301 digs, 258 receptions); S Naomi Chinchar, Fr. (698 assists); MB Ezzie Thompson, So. (51 blocks). 

Outlook: Trinity Catholic, which won the state title in 2018, are in the state semifinals for the third straight season. The Celtics, ranked seventh in 3A, have won seven straight matches, six via sweeps. Bishop McLaughlin, ranked first in 3A and third overall in the state, is in the state semifinals for the third straight season. The Hurricanes got here by knocking off defending state champion Sarasota Cardinal Mooney in the region finals. Another win and Bishop McLaughlin will advance to the final for the second time in school history with the chance to win its first title. 

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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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