Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Local Sports

Streaks collar Bulldogs


Published:

SEBRING - The only thing missing was the brooms.

Sebring swept Frostproof in a nondistrict volleyball contest Tuesday, winning the match rather easily by scores of 25-10, 25-8, and 25-21.

"They did really well," said Sebring coach Venessa Sinness. "We mixed up some things defensively. I wanted to try players in different positions, but they made that adjustment, and still came out really strong in the final set."

The Blue Streaks were electric in the first set. Sebring bolted out to a 10-0 lead, with #15 scoring three aces. A Frostproof time out gave the Bulldogs some reprieve, and they managed to score a handful of points, but the early deficit was too much to overcome. The Blue Streaks lead by as many as 14 before a late rally from Frostproof made the score look more respectable.

Sebring continued to pump on all cylinders in the second set. Once again, the Blue Streaks jumped out to a big lead, taking a quick 5-1 lead. Frostproof responded with a couple of hard-fought rallies, eventually getting as close as 7-3.

But aces from Hannah Tucker and kills from Jordan Hinkle proved to be too much for the Bulldogs, as Sebring again flexed its muscles, leading by as much as 23-8 before closing out Frostproof out to go up 2-0 in the match.

Thanks to some inspired play in the third set, the Bulldogs nearly managed to avoid the sweep.

After a vicious spike from Sebring's Lindsey Whittington ricocheted off of a Frostproof defender and hit a light hanging from the ceiling, causing the bulb to flicker, Frostproof seemed to be reenergized.

The Bulldogs started talking on offense, and were able to set up their best hitter, Rakaya Neely, who delivered some powerful kill shots to the Blue Streaks. A handful of aces from Frostproof's Miranda Williamson tied the game, and the Bulldogs would take their only lead of the match when they went up 19-18.

The set intensified from there, as the score tightened up. A handful of mistakes on offense gave Sebring some breathing room, and at 23-20, Frostproof called a time out.

With the Blue Streaks taking control of the ball, they set up one of their best hitters, Hannah Gotsch, but Frostproof's Neely was ready, and she blocked the kill as the players on the Bulldogs bench cheered.

Not to be outdone, Sebring's Cadie O'Hern was up at the net on the very next play, blocking a powerful swat from Neely, this time giving the Blue Streaks bench the chance to erupt.

Facing match point, Frostproof put up a valiant effort to extend the set, but #10 would have none of it, and she closed the door on the Bulldogs comeback with a vicious spike to clinch the sweep.

Only a freshman, O'Hern's play would lead you to believe she's an upperclassman. Her stellar play has earned high praise from her coach.

"Her block was a big momentum killer," Sinness said. "And of course she had a good kill right after that. As a freshman, she has come a long way. All she needs to work on his finding her consistency.

"But she did a really good job tonight."

The Blue Streaks varsity squad will travel to Orlando for the OVA Tournament this weekend. When they return, they'll have a nondistrict match on Tuesday with county rival Lake Placid. The Streaks defeated the Green Dragons earlier this season at home, 3-0.

bhoward@highlandstoday.com

863-386-5841

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