Volleyball preview: No. 16 Sickles


At a glance

Coach: Gary Jones

Class: 7A, District 7

Last season: 14-10, lost in region quarterfinals

Key players: MH/OH Mia Holder, Sr.; S/RS/DS Tatum Pope, Jr.; MH/RS/S Gwen Tippen, Jr.; OH Emilie Vendrone, Sr.; 


Aug. 23 vs. Riverview, 7

Aug. 25 at Hillsborough, 7

Aug. 27-28 at tournament

Sept. 1 vs. Jefferson, 7:30

Sept. 9 vs. Alonso, 7:30

Sept. 10-11 at tournament

Sept. 13 at Steinbrenner, 7:30

Sept. 20 at Plant City, 7

Sept. 22 at Leto, 7:30

Sept. 23 at Land O’ Lakes, 7:30

Sept. 27 vs. Bloomingdale, 7:30

Sept. 28 vs. Robinson, 7:30

Sept. 30 vs. Wharton, 7:30

Oct. 5 vs. Blake, 7:30

Oct. 6 at Plant, 7:30

Oct. 11 at Wiregrass Ranch, 7:30

Oct. 12 at Gaither, 7:30


After making the playoffs as a district runnerup last season, the Gryphons will have an even bigger challenge getting back in the postseason. Sickles remained in the same classification but the district includes defending state semifinalist Plant, as well as Steinbrenner and East Lake. And the Gryphons have to compete without Kylie Stroehlein, the Prime Time Preps’ Hillsborough County player of the year last season who is now in college. Another key contributor, Victoria Padilla, transferred to Tampa Prep. There still is a solid quartet of returners who will lead the way — Mia Holder, Tatum Pope, Gwen Tippen and Emilie Vendrone. Tippen had 118 kills and 90 blocks last season. Holder was not far behind, finishing with 110 kills, 86 digs and 57 blocks.