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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Volleyball: Region quarterfinals preview


(All matches at 7 p.m. unless noted)


Plant City (18-8) at Steinbrenner (20-3): This is Plant City’s third consecutive trip to the state playoffs, but the Raiders have not won a region match since 1978. Steinbrenner reached the elite eight last year and has made five straight playoff trips.


Wiregrass Ranch (21-6) at Durant (27-0): Led by Grace Olsen, Wiregrass Ranch is making its first region playoff appearance. Undefeated Durant will try to cap a perfect season with the program’s fourth state title. Durant last advanced to the state tournament in 2007, when the team finished as state runner-up.


Middleton (4-16) at Bradenton Bayshore (11-11): Middleton is making its first trip to the region playoffs and has been led by Aerial Bellamy, Marissa Mendez and Isaline Wyatte. Bayshore makes its first playoff appearance since 1987.


Bradenton Southeast (6-17) at Robinson (11-13): Emma Bartges led Southeast in its district final with 18 kills, nine digs and four aces. Robinson, which reached the elite eight last season. is battle-tested, having played in one of the top tourneys in the country.


Lakeland Christian (16-8) at Tampa Prep (13-10): Senior outside hitter Brooke Wilsman leads the Vikings with 301 kills. Tampa Prep, which has not missed region action since 1999, defeated Lakeland Christian 3-0 in the quarterfinals last year.


Keswick Christian (14-13) vs. Tampa Bay HEAT (18-3) at Central Baptist Church, Brandon: Keswick Christian was the top seed in its district but lost to third-seeded Bayshore Christian in the final. The HEAT, a home school operative in Brandon, are in their first year of general membership with the FHSAA and won the school’s first district title.


Cambridge Christian (12-14) at Bayshore Christian (15-12), 6:30 p.m.: These programs have a long history. Bayshore Christian is 11-7 against the Lancers since 2007 and the programs have split the past four meetings.


(All matches at 7 p.m. )


Bloomingdale (17-11) at Bradenton Manatee (19-8): These teams met earlier this season at the Hillsborough Community College Lady Hawks Invitational, and Manatee won in five sets. The Bulls are making their first trip to the playoffs in two years.


Palm Harbor (19-8) at Plant (17-6): Naomi Mack leads the Hurricanes with 245 kills and 107 blocks. Plant has been led by Eckerd College-commit Kaitlyn Sibson, who has a team-best 246 kills and 277 digs.


Seminole Osceola (12-9) at King (16-4): Emily Barton leads Osceola with 156 kills. King, which won its first district title since 2005, last advanced to the region playoffs in 2011. The Lions haven’t won a playoff match since 2005.


Hillsborough (14-7) at Mitchell (22-5): The Terriers are making their first playoff appearance since 2007 and fourth in school history. Hillsborough has yet to win a playoff match since the girls volleyball state championships began in 1974.


Berkeley Prep (18-6) at Lake Placid (21-5): Berkeley Prep is in an unfamiliar position as the district runner-up. The Buccaneers, who lost in the 4A state title match last year, were upset in the district final by rival Academy of the Holy Names. Isabella Caraballo leads Lake Placid with 217 kills.


Avon Park (12-10) at Academy of the Holy Names (14-12): Holy Names is coming off the program’s biggest win, a five-set victory against Berkeley Prep in the district final. Junior Courtney Vogler, a North Carolina-commit, had 25 kills and four blocks in the win against Berkeley Prep.

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