LITHIA — It’s tough to go 3-0 against the same team in the same season, a sentiment Newsome voiced after Tuesday night’s Class 9A, District 6 semifinal.
“After beating Riverview two times this season there was very little that they didn’t know about us,” Newsome coach Mike Shaffer said. “We changed up a few things for them, but there wasn’t too much to change. We knew we had to play them tough because we knew they would bring everything they had to try and beat us.”
The Sharks did, but once again Newsome was just a little sharper and tougher at key moments, ultimately leading the Wolves to a 25-20, 25-22, 25-19 victory, and giving them a 3-0 season record against their arch rivals.
Now the Wolves (10-7) move on to Thursday’s district final at Sarasota Riverview, offering Newsome another chance to talk about going 3-0 against the same team in the same season — except in reverse.
In two previous matches this season, Sarasota Riverview (22-3 and ranked 12th in the state by MaxPreps) defeated the Wolves in three straight games.
“We know what we’re up against,” Shaffer said. “This time we should be more prepared. Sarasota Riverview is the favorite, but then you never know what could happen.”
On Tuesday against Riverview (6-13), Newsome tweaked a few schematic looks, including moving Alondra Perez more often to the back row for a defensive boost. It was a move that worked pretty well, even after Perez took a bullet off the head in the match’s opening seconds, leaving her a bit dazed for a moment and with a red mark on her face the rest of the night.
Shaffer also was pleased with the play of Parker Webster (nine digs and five of the team’s 10 aces), defensive specialist Makenzie Atkins (two aces, six digs), Camila Vazquez (11 kills with no hitting errors), and Andrea Fabregas (eight kills, three digs).
“Now we need to play our very best against (Sarasota Riverview) because that’s what it will take to beat them,” Shaffer said. “Our motto this year is, ‘Let’s make good, great,’ meaning we think we’re good, but we are taking those steps to be great. (Thursday’s district final) is a chance for us to get better.”