Win gives Patriots volleyball at least the No. 2 district seed
By Jeff Odom
Carrollwood Day School (CDS) knocked off Bishop McLaughlin on the road in straight sets, 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 Sept. 27 to clinch at least the No. 2 seed in the Class 3A-District 8 tournament.
The Hurricanes (4-5) were without their starting libero Casey McColl, who was benched prior to the game for unspecified reasons. The lack of her anchor on the backrow showed, as the ‘Canes struggled with defense and communication throughout the contest.
The Patriots (12-4) looked out of order early in the first set, as Bishop McLaughlin jumped out to a five point lead. But with the quick reaction of senior Nicole Neugebauer, who finished with 18 assists and five kills, CDS scored six straight to even the set.
The back and forth scoring continued, until the Patriots took 10 of the final 12 points to win the set.
“We came out of the gate a little slow,” said CDS coach Travis Nead. “They have some great hitters over there that played a strong first game, but we made a lot of mental errors and that’s really what we talked about and they were able to correct themselves.”
CDS did not trail in the second set, dominating the shorthanded ‘Canes. Casey Brynjolfsson and Madison Ghodsi combined for 12 services, as the Patriots broke out on a 15-2 lead.
Bishop McLaughlin coach Doug Chinchar said the loss of McColl, added with his young team’s inexperience, hampered its ability to win.
“Probably the best libero in the area was not playing tonight,” Chinchar said. “She was sitting (down) right on the bench. That hurt us, and we learned certain things are more important than volleyball. She controls the backrow. They knew it. We’re very young … next year, we’re going to be tough.”
CDS continued to pile on in the third set, but the Hurricanes kept it closer thanks in part to the performance of sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Mathis, who pressured the Patriots’ defense with hard swings and key blocks to try and extend the match.
Even with the boost, CDS would again hold Bishop McLaughlin in check when it mattered the most, as the Patriots scored seven straight to take the victory.
Mathis finished with 17 kills and four blocks on the night. CDS’ Aishling Sheehan led her squad with 11 kills while adding seven digs.
The win marks the first time CDS has finished the regular season with a district record above .500 (3-1). It also avenges a loss to the Hurricanes suffered in last year’s district semifinals, which ended the Patriots’ season and earned Bishop McLaughlin its first playoff berth.
“We’re really excited about this one,” Nead said. “We’ll wait and see how the rest of districts finishes out, because I know there are a bunch of big ones coming up.”
The 3A-8 tournament is at Seffner Christian Oct. 22 to 25, with the championship match Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m.