News Section: Sports
SCF Volleyball Cracks National Top 10
BRADENTON— SCF Manatees Volleyball continued to show it has the depth and talent to compete at the National Level. After another big week of volleyball that featured a third conference win (3-0) and a perfect showing at Manatee's very own volleyball invitation held Sept 21st and 22nd at Hal Chasey Gymnasium, the Manatees Volleyball Team, now 17-3 on the season, moved up to 10th place in the National USCAA Rankings.
|Braden River's Brittany Jaco serves for SCF|
“I am proud of our team and the hard work everyone has put forth so far this season”, stated Coach Garofalo. “Although we’ve been hampered with a number of injuries and illness, the depth of talent and the competitive nature of our players has allowed us to be consistent and successful in our play”.
That depth was evident last week as the Manatees travelled to South Florida State College on the 20th, where they upset the host Panthers three games to one The conference win moved the Manatees into first place in the Suncoast Conference with a perfect record of 3-0.
The following day the Manatees hosted a two day, seven team tournament including Highland Community College from Illinois. The first match of the tournament for the Manatees was against eight time USCAA Volleyball National Champions Florida College (the only Florida team to defeat the Manatees this season). “Florida College is always a talented and well coached team,” said Garofalo. “Although we knew it would be a tough battle, we were confident that we had the talent and team to get the job done”. And get the job done they did, as the Manatees defeated FC 3-1. Later that afternoon, SCF defeated Broward College 3-0.
The next day, SCF faced Palm Beach State College in the morning match-up. The Manatees’ depth of talent allowed Coach Garofalo to play the entire roster on the way to another 3-0 victory in the tournament.
For the final match of the tournament, SCF played #1 State ranked and 6th Nationally ranked College of Central Florida. “We were excited to play Central Florida and to see just how we stacked up against one of the top teams in the country,” commented Garofalo. “We knew it would take everything we had if we were to be successful against them”. And everything they had was just what it took.
|Southeast alum Brittane Hunter on the block|
After losing the first game 16-25, the Manatees fought back to win the next one 25-19. The third and fourth games were replays of the first two with SCF losing the third 15-25 and then winning the fourth 25-20. “We knew the fifth game was going to be a hard fought battle,” Garofalo said. “We never imagined however just how hard fought it would end up being”.
The Manatees started strong in the fifth game, taking a quick 4-1 lead. The experienced and talented Patriots quickly tied up the game at 4-4. From that point on, both teams exchanged points back and forth with the Manatees never trailing. With the score tied at 14-14, a well placed tip by the Patriots gave them the lead and game point at 14-15. The Manatees however were not ready to throw in the towel just yet and came back strong with a thundering kill by Canadian outside hitter, Tessa Alyman to tie the game at 15-15.
In volleyball, a fifth game usually finishes when the first team gets to 15 points and wins by two. In some instances, games will reach 17, 18 or even 19 points before a victor is decided. However, this was no normal game and these were not normal teams. These were two of the top teams in the State as well as country and they were ready to play like it.
With the game tied at 15-15, the lead exchanged hands no less than 13 times. With SCF trailing 28-29, Danielle Williams hit a killer shot down the right sideline to tie the game 29-29. On the next play, sophomore setter, Kierston Smith took advantage of a high pass from Abi Van Ostenbridge to quickly slam it down into the Patriots’’ court for a kill, giving the Manatees game point at 30-29. With the game on the line, Patriots’ setter fed CCF’s All-American Vanessa Benke with a high set to the outside. Benke’s powerful hit sailed across the court just outside the left sideline, giving the Manatees a 31-29 victory in the marathon game.
“In all my years of playing and coaching, I have never seen or experienced such a long, intense and well fought out battle that went to 31 points in a fifth game,” exclaimed Garofalo. “It was truly a great match by two great teams; two teams that could potentially be facing off again at the State Championship Tournament (Nov. 2-4).” Click here for the SCF volleyball schedule to find out when you can catch a game.
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