Leading by one set but up just one point in the second set Wednesday night, Steinbrenner High volleyball coach Laura Stegenga called a timeout.
Stegenga said she knew something was wrong with her team's communication. One timeout later, and the Warriors never looked back and ended up sweeping St. Petersburg in a Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal, 25-16, 25-22, 25-19.
"I thought we had some weak communication, and that's basically why I took that timeout," Stegenga said. "We weren't really talking on the court, and when we talk, that's when we play at our best."
After coming off a three-set victory against Freedom in last week's Class 7A-District 9 championship game, the Warriors didn't look like a team that might come off a bit sluggish from the get-go. Steinbrenner outside hitter Madison Seuzeneau (nine kills) controlled the middle for the Warriors and came up huge numerous times throughout the match.
Warriors freshman Leila Oberschall came up with a second-set-ending kill, and it helped set the tone for the rest of the match. The third set featured the Warriors playing at ease. Steinbrenner junior Rachel Mathison recorded a game-high 10 kills, and sophomore Lauren Heldt added six.
7A-3: Freedom falls to Clearwater
Clearwater coach Kara Betourne expected a battle from Freedom in the Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinals. Instead, the Tornadoes recorded a sweep.
Freedom could not overcome a sluggish start in the first game and lost, 25-13, 25-22, 26-24.
"In the regionals, you have to work for every single point," Betourne said. "We went in with the conviction it would be at least four games, if not five."
"We were prepared for a hard match," Clearwater outside hitter Sara Myslicki said. "We expected them to hit it hard, which they did, and we were ready to dig them up."
"Unfortunately we came out a little flat," Freedom coach Kerry Short said. "We started to pick up momentum in the second and third game, but we fell a few points short. At least in the third game, I can look at it as excitement and motivation going into next year."
7A-2: Riverview loses to Lakeland
Kali Boatwright led the way with 21 kills and 15 digs as visiting Lakeland swept Riverview 25-14, 25-12, 25-20 in the Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinals.
Boatwright was especially dominant in the first set as Lakeland (20-8) took control with a 12-5 run, and the junior started an 11-1 run in the second with a kill.
"Kali has been very consistent for us for a very long time," Lakeland coach Crystal Ramsey said. "That's a kid you want making those high-risk plays."
Riverview (18-7) battled back to go ahead 17-16 in the third set, but Lakeland ended it by scoring six of the last seven points. Kelly Germain added 10 kills, and Caitlin Conner had 31 assists for the Dreadnaughts, who beat Riverview in the region quarterfinals last year.
Cassidy Hutchinson and Kiahna Wicks led Riverview with seven kills each, and Jordan Alberts had 19 assists. Sharks coach Kristin Grosso said her team just gave away too many points.
"I told them we were allowing them to control the pace of the game," Grosso said. "You can't let that happen."
7A-2: Jenkins blanks Plant City
It was a true David vs. Goliath on Halloween at George Jenkins in the Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinals.
Jenkins came in as the heavy favorite and dominated Plant City, 25-13, 25-11, 25-21.
The Raiders were outmatched in every way. It was the Eagles' 30th game of the season, just the 17th for the Raiders and first-year head coach Jessica Thornton.
Jenkins was bigger, stronger, faster and had been here before.
Plant City took a 5-2 lead in the first set. However, that didn't last long thanks to five double hits and trouble communicating.
The second set was dominated by the Eagles, who took a 9-2 advantage and never looked back. Noelle Dietrich had three kills for the Raiders in the set and a block.
Dietrich had three kills in the final set, and with Jenkins resting its starters, Plant City was able to hang tight. Emily Fry led the way in the third set with four kills and a block.
Dietrich finished with 10 kills for Plant City. The Raiders don't lose any seniors and could have all players back next season.
Special to the Tribune