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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Volleyball: Region finals preview

All matches today, 2 p.m.

8A-2: Palm Harbor (21-8) at Winter Park (26-3)

OUTLOOK: Palm Harbor defeated Bloomingdale in the region semifinals, 3-0, to advance to its first region final in school history. Senior Naomi Mack leads PHU with 268 kills. The Hurricanes will have a tough task against Winter Park, the No. 92-ranked team in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com.

7A-2: Orlando Lake Nona (16-4) at Steinbrenner (23-3)

OUTLOOK: Lake Nona is making its first region final appearance, while Steinbrenner is making its second straight appearance. Lake Nona defeated Lakeland Jenkins in the semifinals, while Steinbrenner ended Durant’s perfect season with a 3-0 sweep. The Warriors are led by outside hitters Avery Bradshaw (268 kills) and Rachel Mathison (214), middle blocker Lauren Heldt (181 kills, 92 blocks), junior setter/defensive specialist Brooke Royals (468 assists) and libero Casey McLean (211 digs).

6A-3: Venice (22-7) at Mitchell (24-5)

OUTLOOK: The Mustangs are in their first region final and have won 20 consecutive matches dating to early September. They are led by an experienced hitter in senior Danielle Green, who has 317 kills and more than 300 digs. Kayla Widera (64 blocks), Shanya Filippelli (125 kills) and libero Ryleigh Hill round out a deep Mitchell team. The Indians are defending state champs and did not lose a set in the region tournament’s first two rounds. They are led by sophomore outside hitter Hannah Richards (13 kills in semifinals)


5A-2: Fivay (24-6) at Belleview (24-5)

OUTLOOK: The Falcons are a region finalist for the second straight season, thanks to outstanding seasons by senior twin outside hitters, Ashleigh and Briannah Nemetz, who have 247 and 231 kills, respectively. Also, libero Courtney Costa defends their back court, while Jordyn Mattos is a strong hitter up front. The Rattlers have not dropped a set in the region tournament, but neither has Fivay. Belleview is led Mikaylah Gillespie, who has 339 kills and 117 blocks, and Savannah Phillips (178 kills).

5A-3: Robinson (13-13) at Naples Lely (17-12)

OUTLOOK: Lely is making its second straight region final appearance. Catia Sleet had 11 kills and Kylee Gorngpratum had 29 assists, seven aces and four kills in a 3-0 sweep against Bradenton Bayshore in the semifinals. Senior Samantha Howard leads the Trojans with 185 kills, while Lauren Wheatley leads the Knights with 163 kills and 41 blocks. Robinson is seeking its first state tournament appearance since 1978.


4A-3: LaBelle (18-11) at Berkeley Prep (21-7)

OUTLOOK: LaBelle is making its first region final appearance since 2005. The Cowboys are led by senior Abbie O’Ferrell (375 kills, 263 digs). Logan Weldon and Sidney Brown combined for 25 kills and Morgan Reyes added 25 digs to lead Berkeley past Academy of the Holy Names in the semifinals. Brown leads the Buccaneers with 415 kills.

3A-2: Tampa Prep (17-10) at Orlando First Academy (13-8)

OUTLOOK: Tampa Prep is coming off a 3-1 win against Bishop McLaughlin. Alana Nelson led the way with 16 kills and four aces, while Corey Perkins finished close behind with 12 kills and Ariana Mosely had 11 kills to go along with three blocks. First Academy, the defending 3A state champion, defeated Tampa Prep in the region final last season, 3-0.

3A-3: Fort Myers Evangelical Christian (23-5) at Clearwater CC (25-5)

OUTLOOK: This is a rematch of last year’s region final, which CCC won in the fifth set, 15-12. CCC later lost in the 3A state semifinals to Gainesville St. Francis. Senior Sydney Ferguson leads the Sentinels with 310 kills, while juniors Shea Hamilton and Katie Moore lead the Marauders with 262 and 243 kills.


2A-2: Tampa Bay HEAT (21-3) at Winter Park Geneva (18-11)

OUTLOOK: Victoria Trueheart had 20 kills, Abigail Hodges added 11 kills and Ari La Roe had 42 assists in the Tampa Bay HEAT’s win against Cambridge Christian in the semifinals. Trueheart leads the home-school operative ­— in its first year of general membership with the FHSAA — with 370 kills.

Nick Williams, Mike Camunas

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