Monday, November 17, 2014

Volleyball: Notes and observations from Manatee's state championship

photo by John Lembo
-  If you like close volleyball, Manatee was the team for you. The Hurricanes won their six sets against University and Jupiter by a combined 14 points and allowed 22 points or more in each one. Jupiter actually outscored Manatee 98-93 in the championship  match, which Manatee won 3-1 on the strength of three two-point victories.
- Manatee lost just three sets in seven postseason matches, dropping two to Palm Harbor University in a Region 2 semifinal and another to Jupiter in the championship match.
- If there was an official MVP of the tournament, Haley Coulter would have made a strong candidate. The Tulsa commit had 32 kills and 22 digs in the semifinal  and  final to go along with five blocks. No surprise the junior is up for Player of the Year honors in Class 8A.
- Speaking of awards, Canes coach Tony Cothron has a solid shot of winning the title in Class 8A. Manatee never made it past the regional  semifinals before Cothron showed up and the Canes wound up winning the county's first state volleyball title since Palmetto in 1986.
- The last area volleyball team to reach a state final was  Cardinal  Mooney, a runner-up to  Orlando Bishop  Moore in Class 3A in  2000. Palmetto is the last county team to do so,  falling to Estero in 1988 in the Class 2A final. That capped quite a run for the Tigers, won a state title in '86 and made the final four the following year.
- The Hurricanes had a two-headed set monster in  Kissimmee  as junior Gillian Cassidy and freshman Gabby Coulter teamed for 82 assists in the two matches. They were balanced, too - Coulter had 42, Cassidy had 40.
- How did Manatee win so  many close sets? Success at the service line helped. The Hurricanes totaled 19 aces at Kissimmee, including six from Stefani Keller. (Jupiter and University combined for seven.) A freshman, Keller won the Region 2 championship match at Orlando Timber Creek with an ace to send Manatee to the state semifinals.
- The volleyball team is  Manatee's first indoor team to win a state title since the boys weightlifting team won the Class 4A title in 1990. Nine boys lifters have won individual titles for Manatee. The wrestling team has 16 individual championships but never won the team trophy, finishing second in 1973, 2007 and '09. The girls lifting team crowned a champ in 2004 when Sam DeCristofaro won at 129 pounds.
(Cheerleading is a bit tricky. Manatee has won consecutive state cheer titles but is that considered an inside sport? Discuss.)
- Not a bad year for volleyball  in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Venice and Manatee won state titles and  Lakewood Ranch reached the state semifinals for the second time in three years.

1 comment:

  1. Cheerleading would be considered inside as Cheer Competitions are held in doors. The only outside activities is sideline cheer at football games and that is not Competition Cheer. Some local schools have separate teams for both Sideline Cheer and Comp Cheer. MHS is the same.