Kissimmee– After two and a half months, the Steinbrenner volleyball team came up two games away from their ultimate goal, losing to Naples Gulf Coast in the 7A state semifinals.
The Warriors regional championship was the first in school history, but coach Laura Stegenga thinks they could have gone all the way.
“We got a little shattered there for a couple points,” Stegenga said.
Steinbrenner lost the first two sets 25-19, 26-24, but turned the tables on Gulf Coast. Led by juniors Avery Bradshaw (29 kills) and Brooke Royals (60 assists) Steinbrenner dominated the third set 25-16, then won all the key points to take the fourth set 26-24.
The Warriors backbone all year had been it’s serve receive, but it faltered in the fifth. The Sharks had three service aces in the fifth set, and despite a small charge on Bradshaw’s serve, Gulf Coast pulled out a 15-11 final set victory.
90 miles away from their fans the team only saw the amount of support they received after the game was over. Multiple players were sent pictures and videos of hundreds of students watching the game in the gym, one of those players was Bradshaw.
“We’re going to be able to go to school tomorrow and we’re going to have the entire school there for us saying, ‘Oh my gosh, great job,’ ” she said. “And that means a lot to us.”