Auburndale Charges On With Win Over Rockledge In Class 5A Regional Volleyball Quarterfinal
Wed. October 31, 2012 at 11:29 p.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Auburndale's Savannah Jo Smith (11) spikes the ball between Rockledge's Aubrey Brown (10) and Meghan Ireland (8) in Class 5A regional quarterfinal at Auburndale. (Photo by RICK RUNION | THE LEDGER )
BY LISA COFFEY
AUBURNDALE | Bloodhound coach Kelly Bock thought her team had promise.
Wednesday Auburndale proved it with a 25-19, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23 exciting victory over visiting Rockledge (15-11) in the Class 5A regional volleyball quarterfinal at the Tracy McGrady Gymnasium.
In Polk's other Class 5A regional quarterfinal, Lake Wales concluded its season with a 25-10, 25-13, 25-8 loss to the Mustangs on the road.
The young Bloodhounds (19-8/8-0) showed maturity in tight situations in the final two sets to advance to the regional semifinals after losing in the first round of district play last year.
"This group for me has been something magical," said Bock, who is in her third year as head coach. "Other teams have been bigger and more experienced, but we've stayed true to playing Bloodhound volleyball."
The Bloodhounds won the first game, holding on to a good lead throughout behind the attack of Kelsee Cullop.
In the second set, the two were tied 19-19. They went back and forth, but kills by Rockledge's KaeLyn Buzzo and J'ena Baker near the end were the difference.
With plenty of balance, the Bloodhounds came back from a 19-14 deficit to tie the third set at 24-24.
A kill by freshman Danairi Malave and a block by Malave and junior Mariah Braddy gave the Bloodhounds the third-set victory and the momentum.
Auburndale trailed Rockledge by three points twice in the fourth set.
The Bloodhounds bounced back from a 21-17 deficit to knot the set 22-22.
Malave again blocked Baker, who finished with 17 kills, giving Auburndale a 23-22 lead.
However, a kill by Raider Aubrey Brown knotted the score again at 23.
Kills by Cullup and junior Nicole Peace closed out the match and started the celebration.
"We're so young," Bock said. "They showed great composure and mental toughness in some really tight situations. We had talked about unity, focus, heart and hustle. We chased down balls where earlier this season we wouldn't have. Their trust in each other shown through.Some girls are playing different positions. They are embracing their roles and it makes a huge difference. We're really working harder on things."
Bloodhound Kelsee Cullop, a sophomore softball player, made quite a showing with 14 kills as a second-year player in a pressure-filled match.
Freshman libero Danielle Beiberle was nearly flawless from the back row with 42 digs.
Freshman setter McKenzie Bock tallied 44 assists, 17 digs and four kills.
Malave rebounded from a tentative start to finish with 15 kills and seven blocks.
Savannah Jo Smith was solid with 10 kills.
Junior Nikki Peace chipped in three blocks and two kills.
"She stayed strong," Bock said. "Her defense and her serving - getting points for us is big for a middle."
The Bloodhounds returned seven players from last year, including two junior varsity players.
In 2001 they fell to Hardee in the first round of districts.
The Bloodhounds carried momentum into the playoffs, having won eight matches into the Kathleen tournament in the final, regular-season weekend.
"Our goal was to win districts and to go undefeated in district play," Bock said.
The team also hopes to maintain a 3.75 GPA for the season. "They are close," Bock said. "We were going to celebrate tonight when one player said she had to go home and do homework. Then another and another said the same thing."