LUTZ- The Steinbrenner Warriors (20-5) will advance to the regional semifinals to verse a to be determined opponent as they prevailed over the Strawberry Crest Chargers (17-4) in four sets by scores of 26-28 (Loss), 25-14 (Win), 25-15 (Win), and 25-15 (Win).
“I think we had a little bit of jitters in the beginning and then after that they did what I knew they could do, we exceeded on defense,” said head coach Laura Praetorius. “Serve receiving and the hitting was lacking early on but picked up towards the end which helped us succeed on both sides of the ball.”
The Warriors had a rough start to the night as Strawberry Crest took the first set in a back and forth round of 28-26. After that set, Steinbrenner showed their offensive talent as they took the final three sets with emphasis on the game. Top offensive performances were made by senior outside hitters Avery Bradshaw and Taylor Wojciechowski who both combined for a total of 30 kills and other solid performances made by senior middle blocker Lauren Heldt and sophomore middle blocker Lauren Odom who totaled 23 kills as well.
“At the beginning of the game we started out really rough but we came out and crushed it at the end.” said Wojciechowski. “Whoever we end up playing in the semifinals, we are going to try our best and take home the win for Steinbrenner.”
The turning point of the game occurred in the third set where senior defensive specialist Brooke Royals went down with a severe ankle injury. Royals left the game in crucial conditions and has given us no indication on what the injury may be. Royals led the team in assists on the year with 301. This sparked the Warriors to play harder than ever for Royals as the Warriors finished off the third set on a 13-5 run taking a series lead of 2-1 heading into the fourth set.
“After the injury, we said we had to go out there and play harder,” said Praetorius. “It is awful to see a player get hurt and these girls are one team so naturally they want to work for each other which helps us perform at a higher level.”
Steinbrenner plays in the regional semifinals Tuesday November 4, with the opponent still to be determined. Updates on the story in regards to the future opponent, time and location, as well as more details on the Brooke Royals injury will be added on soon as we gather more information. Check back soon to see if any new information has been added.
Dillon Schmidt/Staff Writer