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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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Baseball

Baseball: Region semifinal recap (7A-5A, 2A)

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Class 7A

For the full playoff bracket click here

Scoreboard

Durant 7, Sarasota Riverview 0

Prime time performers

P Sean Hermann, Sr., Durant: Threw 4 ⅔ scoreless innings, allowing four hits, finishing with six strikeouts and teaming with Alex Canney on a shutout win over Sarasota Riverview. 

C/UTIL Dylan LaPointe, So., Durant: Hit two doubles and had two RBIs and a run scored in a win over Sarasota Riverview. 

C/3B Carlos Morales, Fr., Durant: Went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in a win over Sarasota Riverview. 

Saturday’s region final schedule

Durant vs. Osceola-Lake Nona winner

Class 6A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Bloomingdale 2, Mitchell 1

Prime time performers

INF/P Gabe Garrett, Sr., Bloomingdale: Went 2-for-3 with a run scored in a win over Mitchell. 

P/OF Jack Owens, Jr., Bloomingdale: Lasted six innings on the mound, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out seven in a win over Mitchell. 

Saturday’s region final schedule

Bloomingdale at Naples Gulf Coast, 7

Class 5A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Land O’ Lakes 3, Ocala Vanguard 0

Prime time performer

P Brian Holiday, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: Threw a complete-game no-hitter with 20 strikeouts and was 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored in a win over Ocala Vanguard. It was career win No. 600 for Gators coach Calvin Baisley.

May 19 region final schedule

Land O’ Lakes at Jefferson, 7

Class 2A

For the full playoff bracket click here

Scoreboard

Seffner Christian 11, Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy 2

Bishop McLaughlin 4, Northside Christian 3 (10 innings)

Prime time performers

OF/P Andrew Duncan, So., Bishop McLaughlin: Powered the Hurricanes’ offense by going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in a win over Northside Christian.

C Andrew Ura, Sr., Seffner Christian: Hit a grand slam that ignited the offense in a win over Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy. 

Saturday’s region final schedule  

Seffner Christian at Mount Dora Christian, 7

Bishop McLaughlin at Sarasota Out-of-Door, 7

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General

CCC’s Stephen Shepherd leaves to take over at PHU

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Stephen Shepherd, who coached Clearwater Central Catholic’s volleyball team for 11 seasons and led the program to the Class 3A state title in 2014, has stepped down to take over at Palm Harbor University. 

Shepherd, a teacher at Clearwater Fundamental, resigned last week. He said the move was a family decision. 

“My daughter is in sixth grade, and is a very good player,” Shepherd said. “She has dreamed of playing for me since she was 3 and was in our regional and state championship pictures. 

“I, however, am a teacher, and I’m unable to afford the tuition at CCC.  So it became about our family for me.  I didn’t want to miss her high school career while I’m coaching somewhere else.”

With the Marauders, Shepherd was 232-84 with six district titles, three region titles and a state title. Last season, CCC went 18-6 and lost to Carrollwood Day in the 3A region quarterfinals. 

This is the second high-profile coach the Marauders have lost in the past week. CCC baseball coach Todd Vaughan already announced he was stepping down after 33 seasons. .

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Baseball

Baseball: Wednesday’s region semifinal breakdown (7A-6A, 2A)

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The baseball playoffs continue Wednesday with region semifinal games in Classes 7A-6A and 2A. Admission is $7. Here is the schedule with outlooks for each area game, as well as team leaders for each matchup.

Class 7A

Durant (20-5) at Sarasota Riverview (19-9), 7

This is a rematch from the 7A-8 district final the Rams won 10-0 two weeks ago. In that game, the Cougars were unable to use ace Sean Hermann, who threw in the district semifinals. Hermann will be back on the mound and likely will be squaring off against Sarasota Riverview’s Karson Ligon or Pip Smalley in what could be a pitcher’s duel.  

Team leaders

CategoryDurantSarasota Riverview
Batting averageAustin Sewell .400Pip Smalley .425
RBIsDylan LaPointe 20Clay Russin 22
Home runsLuke Scolaro 2Four players tied with two
ERASean Hermann 0.45Pip Smalley 0.33
StrikeoutsSean Hermann 114Karson Ligon 61

Class 6A

Mitchell (22-6) at Bloomingdale (20-6), 7

The Mustangs, ranked No. 6 in the classification by MaxPreps, enter on a five-game win streak, including three victories by double digits. The Bulls have won three straight and 11 of their last 12. Their success is due in part to finding ways to pull through in close games. Bloomingdale is 3-1 in games decided by a run during this recent stretch. 

Team leaders

CategoryMitchellBloomingdale
Batting averageAidan Miller .415Colby Shelton .409
RBIsAidan Miller 22Marlon Bowen 22
Home runsAidan Miller 4Colby Shelton 5
ERAJames Hill 0.64Jack Owens 0.89
StrikeoutsAshton Crowther 62David Eckaus 80

Class 2A

Bishop McLaughlin (19-7) at Northside Christian (15-12), 7

The visiting Hurricanes, winners of eight straight, are playing their best baseball of the season. Pitching and defense has been the key. Bishop McLaughin has posted three straight shutouts and allowed a combined five runs in their last six games. After a 2-4 stretch late in the regular season, the Mustangs have turned things around, winning five straight. Three of those victories were by a combined five runs. 

Team leaders

CategoryBishop McLaughlinNorthside Christian
Batting averageAugie Mojica .409Andrew Williamson .402
RBIsAndrew Duncan, Drew Knight 15Jake Cappock, Ryan Cerrone 17
Home runsNicholas Cucchi, Drew Knight 1Four players tied with 2
ERAEthan Burkhardt 1.35Shane McClanahan 2.85
StrikeoutsTanner Boccabello 55Robert Kocis 38

Winter Haven All Saints’ (16-7) at Seffner Christian (18-4), 4

This is a rematch of the 2A-8 district final the host Crusaders won 14-4 in five innings two weeks ago. In that game, Seffner Christian’s Andrew Ura went 4-for-4 with two doubles and five RBIs and teammate Spencer Boynton hit two doubles and scored two runs. 

Team leaders

CategoryAll Saints’ Seffner Christian
Batting averageRiley Kelton .456Dylan Cheeley .416
RBIsSteele Polin 24Dylan Cheeley, Connor Loomis 18
Home runsBrock Thielen 1Spencer Boynton 2
ERALucas Perez 1.43Ben Cheek 0.25
StrikeoutsLucas Perez 158Joey Jensen 75

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