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Lady Knights sweep Tarpon Springs to take the regional title

Lady Knights claim the Regional title.

The+Lady+Knights+celebrate+as+Lauren+Johnson+%28%2719%29+serves+up+an+ace.
The Lady Knights celebrate as Lauren Johnson ('19) serves up an ace.

The Lady Knights celebrate as Lauren Johnson ('19) serves up an ace.

Photo Macy McClintock

Photo Macy McClintock

The Lady Knights celebrate as Lauren Johnson ('19) serves up an ace.

Natalia McCalla, Staff Writer

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For the past four years, the Lady Knights (26-7) have claimed the Regional Final title before falling in the State Semifinal match. But this past Tuesday, Nov. 7, they added a fifth Regional title to their belts after sweeping Tarpon Springs (21-8) in three sets: 25-16, 25-17 and 25-13.

“We were worried about their number one hitter during warmups and we were shaking in our boots a little bit, but the girls went out there and knew what they had to do and stopped her,” head coach Ashley “AJ” Johnson said. “We’ve been working on our blocking preparing for this game because our defense hasn’t really known where to go to pick up the ball and today we blocked the lights out.”

Captain Christiana Rolack (’18) led the team in blocks with 25 and Kristin Werdine (’19) led the team in digs. Offensively, Mila Yarich (’21) ended the night with 14 kills to lead the team.

Although Robinson won in three straight sets, as they have every playoff game this season to date, they had a rough start in the first set, tying with the Spongers 4-4 before the Lady Knights took the lead with adrenaline from the crowd, winning the first set by a solid nine-point margin.

“We came in a lot more focused with the mindset that we were going in to win; we knew physically both teams were able to compete on this level because we made it this far,” Rolack said. “But it’s the mental game that will determine the winning team.”

The second set was almost identical to the first, with solid blocking continuing to be the key factor of the Lady Knight’s domination.

During the third set, the Spongers stepped up their game, knowing it was their last chance to continue their season. Robinson stayed level headed, taking the third set by a margin of 12 points, the most of the night.

“We came out hard and played our best and acted like we’ve never seen the team before,” Werdine said. “Tonight was probably one of the best games we’ve had all season. I mean our blocking was insane, our defense was great and our offense was awesome. Everything was just working for us.”

The Lady Knights take on Bishop Moore (21-8) this Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. for the 5A State Semifinals matchup at Robinson High School (6311 S Lois Ave, Tampa, FL 33616).

“I wouldn’t change anything for the next game,” Johnson said. “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and make little refinements here and there.”

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Lady Knights sweep Tarpon Springs to take the regional title