LUTZ – For the second time in the program’s three-year history, the girls volleyball team advanced to the second round of the 7A Regional Playoffs and are now just two wins away from the State Final Four in Lakeland. The ladies swept Seminole in three sets (25-15, 25-16, 25-18) to advance.
The first set was dominated by the Warriors to begin with, but the Warhawks got back into it midway through. Playing without senior outside hitter and University of Tampa commit Marissa Lisenbee because of a one-game suspension handed down from the Florida High School Athletic Association, Seminole got as close as one point early. However, junior Madison Seuzeneau wouldn’t back down as she fired off six kills in the set and the Warriors pulled away to win the set by 10.
In the second set, the Warhawks never got within seven points. However some mistakes on serves and missed points cost the Warriors a chance to truly dominate and make their mark in the set. Nevertheless, behind Seuzeneau’s six additional kills and a pair of kills from senior Miranda Powell and junior Baylee Hooker the ladies were able to make it through 25-16.
Going for the sweep in the third, the ladies turned their focus to Lauren Heldt, a freshman to keep them from getting into an early hole with Seminole ahead by one. Heldt served up seven aces in a row to give her team a four point run and a lead they would not surrender. Heldt says she was doing her best to keep confident during her streak of aces.
“(I was repeating to myself) just don’t miss the next one, don’t miss the next one, don’t miss the next one,” said Heldt, who finished with eight total aces on the evening.
The Warhawks did make it close towards the finish, but the ladies were too much to handle and hung on to win 25-18 and capture another postseason sweep.
The ladies will stay at home next Tuesday, and face Regional Quarter-final winner Clearwater, who defeated Freedom in four sets, at 7p.m. in the Class 7A Regional Semi-Final. Head Coach Jennifer Graham says the key to victory will be avoiding the mistakes that give up easy points.
“We got to get better than what we did in this game, this week,” said Graham. “We’re still mixing up our hitters, offensive combos and keep on swinging.”
Seuzeneau, who topped her 15 career high kill total with 18, says the team has played both teams and won and will be ready for anything that comes their way.
“Honestly we’ve played both (Freedom and Clearwater) and I’m very excited for whoever we play and I definitely think we can get to the Final Four,” said Seuzeneau.
Scoring – Set One: Kills – Seuzeneau 6, Mi. Powell 3, Hooker 3, Mathison 1 – Aces – McLean 1
Set Two – Kills: Seuzeneau 6, Hooker 2, Mi. Powell 2, Heldt 1, Mathison 1- Aces – Mathison 1
Set Three: Kills – Seuzeneau 4, Mathison 3, Hooker 2, Mi. Powell 1, Bradshaw 1 – Aces – Heldt 8
Total Assists: McLean – 37 total
Jeff Odom – Sports Editor