Volleyball Lady Knights Enter Season’s Final Stretch


Photo I. Hanewicz

The team during the 2014 state semifinal game.

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

The term “crunch time” is overused, played out and at this point, tired. With that said, the coming weeks for the Lady Knights volleyball team really is, by definition, crunch time.

Robinson (16-5) is coming off of a weekend that saw them pick up three straight victories to win the copper bracket of the 2015 Bishop Moore/Winter Park “Swing for the Cure” High School Showcase Premier. The bracket-clinching win over Winter Park came just hours after the news that McKenna Tyson (’17), one of the team’s co-captains, would have to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Now, the Lady Knights are set to face the toughest stretch of the season.

“We have always looked at ourselves as a team and that there is not one person alone who determines our success,” said Robinson head coach Christen Garcia. “The team really stepped up this past weekend winning 3 straight matches against quality teams. They really came together and took care of the fundamentals.”

On Tuesday night, Robinson heads north for a match against rival Plant (16-5), kicking off the four-game week. The Lady Knights will then host Strawberry Crest (10-6) on Thursday for senior night. Team captains Catia Sleet (’16) and Rebecca Hill (’16), along with Bianca Dyer (’16), Chrisheena Rolack (’16) and Dejah Quick (’16), will be honored before the game.

“I’ve been excited for my senior night since I was a freshman,” said Hill. “I can’t believe it’s already here, and I really want to show how my hard work has paid off.”

On Saturday, Robinson will play host to their fourth annual Dig Pink event, which raises money for breast cancer research. The round-robin style tournament will kick off with the Lady Knights taking on Lakewood Ranch (8-7) at 10:00 a.m. before Lakewood Ranch and Plant meet in the second game. The final game of the day will feature a rematch of Tuesday night’s game between Robinson and Plant.

The players will each honor someone they know who has been affected by or has passed away from breast cancer and raffle items will be available in the gym’s lobby, with proceeds going to the Side-Out Foundation.

“It’s one of my favorite parts of the season,” said Sleet. “We play for more than ourselves and each other. We fight for a win for those who have lost their lives [to breast cancer]. It makes the game mean more.”

Robinson will host the 5A-District 9 semifinals next Wednesday, taking on Spoto in the second semifinal match at 7:30 p.m. The winner moves on to Thursday night’s district finals, which will be at 7:00 p.m. The Lady Knights, who are looking for their fifth straight district title, certainly have the experience to make another deep postseason run.

“Having a more experienced team will allow us to work through the nerves of big matches and help to control the emotional side of competition,” said Garcia. “The seniors who have been so close to reaching the state finals in the past two years can truly bring a sense a calmness and stability to the team as we move through the postseason.”

Robinson, who has made back-to-back state final four appearances, is looking for their first state championship since 1978.