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Volleyball: Tampa Bay top 25 week 2



The Nike Tournament of Champions in Orlando, a premier event featuring some of the best teams in the nation, provided a playoff atmosphere for the area that participated. It also shook up the rankings, especially at the top.  

1. Plant (7-1)

Up next: Thursday vs. Calvary Christian

Last spot: No. 2 

Why they moved up: After sweeping Berkeley Prep in the season opener two weeks ago, the Panthers traveled to Orlando for the Nike Tournament of Champions, a premier tournament featuring some of the best teams in the state — and nation. Plant fared well, going 5-1 to finish fifth.  

2. Steinbrenner (11-2)

Up next: Thursday at Robinson; Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin Tournament

Last spot: No. 3

Why they moved up: The Warriors followed up their team title at the Nova Southeastern Shark Invitational by winning five of its seven matches at the Nike Tournament of Champions to finish 10th out of 68 teams. 

3. Berkeley Prep (8-2)

Up next: Tuesday at Tampa Prep

Last spot: No. 8

Why they moved up: No area team had a better week than the Buccaneers, who swept Calvary Christian, then went 6-1 at the Nike Tournament of Champions to finish third, the highest among area teams. Five of those wins came via sweeps, including one over Bishop McLaughlin. During the tournament Berkeley Prep dropped just three sets. 

4. Bishop McLaughlin (4-2)

Up next: Friday-Saturday host Bishop McLaughlin Tournament 

Last spot: No. 1 

Why they moved down: The Hurricanes had a solid showing at the Nike Tournament of Champions, finishing 11th. Still, one of their losses was via sweep against Berkeley Prep, which dropped Bishop Mclaughlin from the top spot.  

5. Clearwater Central Catholic (6-3)

Up next: Thursday at Mercy Academy (Louisville); Friday-Saturday at LIVT Tournament (Louisville). 

Last Spot: No. 4

Why they moved down: The Marauders perfect start ended after going 4-3 at the Nike Tournament of Champions. Seeded 38th, Clearwater Central Catholic finished 27th. This week, the Marauders travel for another tournament, this time to Louisville for the LIVT Tournament.  

6. Calvary Christian (5-1)

Up next: Tuesday at St. Petersburg Catholic; Thursday at Plant 

Last spot: No. 5

Why they moved down: The Warriors split their two matches last week, losing to Berkeley Prep before rebounding to beat East Lake. Both were decided via sweeps. Calvary Christian’s challenging early season schedule continues with a matchup against Plant on Thursday. 

7. Tampa Prep (7-3)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Berkeley Prep; Thursday at Carrollwood Day; Saturday at Winter Park Trinity Prep

Last spot: No. 6

Why they moved down: After starting the season 3-0, the Terrapins unbeaten streak ended at the Nike of Champions in Orlando, where they went 4-3. The tough stretch continues with matches against Berkeley Prep, Carrollwood Day and Winter Park Trinity Prep this week.   

8. St. Petersburg (5-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. East Lake

Last spot: No. 7

Why they moved down: The Green Devils are off to a tremendous start, sweeping every match they have played so far. The only thing keeping them down is strength of schedule. Four of the five wins have come against teams with losing records. Now the challenge comes with a series of tough matches, starting with tonight’s showdown against East Lake.   

9. Academy of the Holy Names (3-0)

Up next: Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin Tournament

Last spot: No. 10

Why they moved up: Impressive victories over Carrollwood Day (3-0) and Shorecrest (3-1) kept the Jaguars undefeated through the first two weeks of the season. 

10. Land O’ Lakes (8-0)

Up next: Thursday at Zephyrhills; Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin Tournament

Last spot: No. 13

Why they moved up: The Gators had one of the best starts in the area. They swept rival Sunlake in the season opener, then followed that up by winning all five matches at the Mustang Invitational to take home the team title. 

11. Weeki Wachee (4-0)

Up next: Tues. at Zephyrhills; Thurs. vs. Hernando

Last spot: No. 11

Why they stayed put: The Hornets extended their regular season win streak to 17 matches after sweeping Zephyrhills and Hernando this past week. This weekend, that streak will be put to the test at the Florida Gem Tournament. 

12. East Lake (2-2)

Up next:  Tuesday at St. Petersburg; Wednesday at Osceola; Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin Tournament.

Last spot: No. 9

Why they moved down: It was a tough week for the Eagles, who went 1-2 with losses to Land O’ Lakes (3-2) and Calvary Christian (3-0). It does not get any easier with a lineup of challenging opponents this week. 

13. Fivay (1-7)

Up next: Fri.-Sat. at Bishop McLaughlin Tournament

Last spot: No. 12

Why they moved down: Since sweeping Wesley Chapel in the season opener, the Falcons have lost seven straight. Still, the record is misleading. Fivay’s losses have all come against national-caliber opponents. Those setbacks will only help them come playoff time. 

14. Wharton (2-0)

Up next: Thursday vs. Chamberlain; Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin Tournament

Last spot: No. 14

Why they stayed put: The schedule has been light with just a pair of matches the first two weeks of the season. That changes this week with the Wildcats getting the test they need at the Bishop McLaughlin Tournament. 

15. Sickles (3-0)

Up next: Thursday vs. Alonso; Friday-Saturday at Florida Gem Tournament

Last spot: No. 15

Why they stayed put: In their only match last week, the Gryphons cruised to a 3-0 over Jefferson. This week is more busy with Sickles hosting Alonso on Thursday before playing in the Florida Gem Tournament this weekend. 

16. Osceola (4-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Boca Ciega; Wednesday vs. East Lake; Friday-Saturday at Bishop McLaughlin Tournament. 

Last spot: No. 16

Why they stayed put: Since losing to Calvary Christian in the season opener, the Warriors have won four straight, three via sweeps. That recent streak will be tested with matches against Boca Ciega and East Lake, followed by the Bishop Mclaughlin Tournament this weekend. 

17. Mitchell (4-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Zephyrhills; Thursday vs. Sunlake

Last spot: No. 17

Why they stayed put: The Mustangs swept Wiregrass Ranch and Pinellas Park to remain undefeated. During its perfect start, Mitchell has dropped just one set.  

18. Newsome (4-0)

Up next: Thursday at Spoto

Last spot: No. 20

Why they moved up: The Wolves gained the inside track to the top seed in the Class 7A, District 6 tournament thanks to wins over Plant City (3-0) and Riverview (3-2) last week.  

19. Keswick Christian (5-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Northside Christian; 

Last spot: No. 18

Why they moved down: A loss to Osceola last week snapped the Crusaders unbeaten streak to start the season. Keswick Christian rebounded with wins over Cambridge Christian (3-0) and Tampa Bay HEAT (3-1). 

20. Carrollwood Day (2-2)

Up next: Tuesday at Brooks DeBartolo; Thursday vs. Tampa Prep

Last spot: No. 19

Why they moved down: So far, it’s been a topsy-turvy season. The Patriots started last week with a loss to Academy of the Holy Names, then came back to beat Northside Christian to get back to .500. 

21. Strawberry Crest (4-0)

Up next: Thursday vs. Hillsborough

Last spot: No. 24

Why they moved up: Of their four wins to start the season, the Chargers only real battle came against Sumner (3-2). Thursday’s match against Hillsborough could provide more of a challenge.  

22. Shorecrest (2-2)

Up next: Wednesday vs. Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy; Thursday vs. Pinellas Park

Last spot: No. 21

Why they moved down: Much like the opening week of the season, the Chargers split their two matches, beating Northeast (3-0) and losing to Academy of the Holy Names (3-0). . . 

23. Sunlake (1-1)

Up next: Monday vs. Wiregrass Ranch; Thursday at Gulf

Last spot: No. 22

Why they moved down: The Seahawks’ 3-0 win over Gulf snapped their two-match losing streak and got them back to .500. 

24. Sumner (3-1)

Up next: Thursday vs. Lennard; Friday-Saturday at Bishop Mclaughlin Tournament

Last spot: Unranked

Why they moved in: The Stingrays’ only loss this season was a five-set marathon match against Strawberry Crest. 

25. Plant City (1-0)

Up next: Thursday vs. Riverview

Last spot: No. 23

Why they moved down: The Raiders went 2-1 last week, beating Robinson (3-2) and Bloomingdale (3-0) and losing to Newsome (3-0). 

On the bubble: Riverview (1-3), Boca Ciega (4-2), Hillsborough (1-1), Cypress Creek (4-0), Wesley Chapel (2-1). 


Monday sports schedule



What to watch


Bloomingdale (8-4) at Sickles (10-8), 7:30

The Bulls enter on a two-match win streak while the host Gryphons are coming off a 2-3 record at the Fivay Invitational this past weekend. 

Weeki Wachee (11-3) at Bishop McLaughlin (10-4), 7:30

The Hornets wanted tough matches like this one on their schedule after playing mostly against teams from Hernando and Citrus counties a year ago. It will not be easy facing the Class 3A defending state semifinalist Hurricanes. 

Plant City (6-3) at Wharton (9-6), 7:30

The Raiders are starting to find their groove after sweeping Sumner and Brandon last week. The host Wildcats, meanwhile, are trying to bounce back after going 1-3 at the Academy of the Holy Names Invitational this past weekend. 

The schedules


Central Baptist at Community Christian, 4:30

Tampa Catholic at Carrollwood Day, 5

Elfers Christian at Faith Outreach, 5

Lakeside Christian at Canterbury, 5

Cambridge Christian at Brandon Academy, 5

Inverness Christian at Oldsmar Christian, 5:30

Seven Rivers Christian at Classical Prep, 6

North Tampa Christian at Hernando Christian, 6

Lakeland Christian at Seffner Christian, 6

Academy at the Lakes at Winthrop College, 6

Bradenton Saint Stephen’s at Tampa SLAM, 6

Boca Ciega at Admiral Farragut, 6

Lakewood at Pinellas Park, 7

Armwood at Riverview, 7

Bloomingdale at Sickles, 7:30

Weeki Wachee at Bishop McLaughlin, 7:30

Plant City at Wharton, 7:30

Strawberry Crest at East Bay, 7:30

Hillsborough at Newsome, 7:30

Northeast at Dunedin, 7:30

Sumner at King, 7:30 


Sumner at Lennard (boys), 2

Newsome at Strawberry Crest (boys/girls), 2

Chamberlain, Freedom at Brandon (boys/girls), 2

Gaither at Jefferson (boys) 2:30

East Bay at Armwood (boys), 3

Durant at Plant (boys), 3

Bloomingdale at Robinson (boys), 3:30

Alonso at Mitchell (boys), 4

PCAC championship at Bardmoor (boys)

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Volleyball Player of the Week



Here are the nominees for the volleyball player of the week. Voting lasts until 9 a.m. Tuesday. 

L Brooke Arnold, Sr., Riverview: Recorded a combined 54 digs in the Sharks’ last four matches and helped the team stretch its win streak to eight

S Bella Baldyga, Sr., Mitchell: Finished with 19 assists, seven assists and four service aces in a win over Fivay to help the Mustangs stay undefeated through their first nine matches. 

OH Bailey Higgins, So., Berkeley Prep: Selected to the all-tournament team at the Berkeley Premier after helping the Buccaneers win the tournament, then knock off Plant in five sets this past week. 

OH Sydney Jackwin, Sr., Keswick Christian: Named MVP after leading the Crusaders to the team title of their own tournament, as well as a five-set victory over St. Petersburg this past week.  

S/L Taylor Parks, So., Calvary Christian: Was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association state player of the week after leading the Warriors to a runnerup finish at the Berkeley Premier.  

S Sydney Waldenmyer, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: Had a combined 38 assists and 18 digs in wins over Cypress Creek and Sickles this past week. 

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Friday sports schedule (Sept. 24)



The schedules


Fivay Invitational (compiled from MaxPreps)

Wiregrass Ranch vs. Mitchell, 1

Anclote vs. Sickles, 2

Lecanto vs. Mitchell, 3

Sunlake vs. Palm Harbor University, 3

Nature Coast vs. Anclote, 3

Fivay vs. Sickles, 4

River Ridge vs. Palm Harbor University, 4:30

Wesley Chapel vs. Mitchell, 6

Nature Coast vs. Sickles, 6

Hudson vs. Palm Harbor University, 6

Academy of the Holy Names Tournament (compiled from MaxPreps)

Carrollwood Day vs. Tampa Prep, 4:30

Keswick Christian vs. Academy of the Holy Names, 4:30

Wharton vs. Newsome, 5:45

Robinson vs. Academy of the Holy Names, 7

Wharton vs. Tampa Prep, 7

Carrollwood Day vs. Newsome, 8:15

Warrior Invitational (compiled from MaxPreps)

Calvary Christian vs. St. Petersburg, 3

Brooks DeBartolo vs. Calvary Christian, 4

Osceola vs. East Lake, 4

East Lake vs. St. Petersburg, 5

Berkeley Prep vs. Calvary Christian, 5

Other matches

St. Petersburg Catholic at Shorecrest, 6

Clearwater Academy at Northside Christian, 6

Patel at Zephyrhills, 6:30

Countryside at Dunedin, 7:30

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