Lady Knights sweep Sebring 3-0, advance to Regional Finals
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The Robinson stands were packed with an overwhelming amount of blue as the Lady Knights took on the Sebring Blue Streaks on Wednesday, Nov. 1, in the Regionals Semifinals matchup. The loud Blue Streaks chants and yells added a much more competitive sense to the game, even though the Lady Knights swept the Blue Streaks in three straight sets.
But although the Lady Knights dominated according to the final score, the game was much more intense than the final outcome made it seem. The Lady Knights quickly took the first two sets 25-17 and 25-15, but struggled with the third set, winning with the narrow margin of 29-27.
“After the first and second set I was like okay we’re better than them,” head coach Ashley “AJ” Johnson said. “Clearly, skill wise we are better than them. But you know in sports its the team that wants it the most. You could have a really skilled team but if the other team is scrappy and wants it more, they can take it.”
The Lady Knights started down 4-1 in the first set, which mimicked last year’s four set win against the Blue Streaks. But they quickly put Sebring back in their place by dominating up until the third set.
“Last year they were really good. It was four really close sets. This year I was expecting it to be five sets but it was easier than I thought it would be,” outside hitter Kristin Werdine (’19) said. “We definitely lost some of our momentum in the third set because we just expected to win, but we bounced back.”
Werdine and Mila Yarich (’21) led the team in attacks, with 10 apiece. Werdine also led the team in digs, with four. Elly Frierson (’18) tacked on 15 assists throughout the night.
The third set was a consistent back and forth rally, with neither team taking a steady lead throughout the duration of the set. The rallies were significantly longer in the third set than they had been in the other sets.
“I pretty much told them (in the timeout huddle while the Lady Knight’s were down 25-24) that I don’t care if it’s 36-38, we’re going to have 38,” Johnson said. “After each point that you lose, don’t get your head down because there’s more to come.”
The Lady Knights face Tarpon Springs next Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Robinson High School (6311 S Lois Ave, Tampa, FL 3361). The winner of this game will claim the regional title and advance to the state semifinals.