PALMETTO -- Rachel Batey never doubted the physical skills of her volleyball players.
After watching them Tuesday night, Batey said she feels the same way about their mental makeup, too.
Manatee defeated Palmetto 3-0 in a non-district match filled with possible distractions.
Batey, Manatee's coach, graduated from Palmetto and coached there.
Palmetto hitter Danielle Deterding was at Manatee last year, when her dad, Ken, was the Hurricanes' coach; Manatee's Allie Clements played at Palmetto before last season.
Tony Cothron, the Tigers' first-year coach, coached many of Manatee's girls in club ball. And Manatee hitter Rachel Drummey estimated she knew or played with 90 percent of the girls on the other side of the net.
"(Tuesday) was a very, very mentally tough game," Batey said. "They played club together, some of the girls went to school here, I graduated from here, I coached here. ... It's just an unspoken kind of rivalry.
"I'm proud of them; they rose to the challenge of a mentally tough game."
The Hurricanes (2-1) showed how prolific they can be when their offense is clicking, turning a 10-10 tie into a 25-15 win in Game 1 thanks to the hitting of Drummey (12 kills on the night) and Becca Butler (12 kills) and opening a 9-0 lead in Game 2.
Manatee did have bouts of inconsistency, however -- plagued by hitting errors throughout some of the night, the Hurricanes watched their nine-point lead in Game 2 slim down to one before they won 25-22.
"We knew most of the girls on that team, so a lot
of that got in our head, I think," said Drummey, a senior. "We just have to work on keeping that out."
Clements added eight kills for Manatee, which opens Class 7A-District 11 play Thursday at home against Port Charlotte.
"We're in shape. My girls are in great shape," Batey said, "so they're physically ready for the challenge. It showed me they're mentally ready, also. I'm so proud of them. I love that they work together."
Deterding had seven kills, Sierra Sutton had four kills, and Shelby Teat dished out nine assists for Palmetto (1-6), who plays its Class 6A-District 12 opener Thursday at St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins.
"We passed pretty well in the beginning, pretty well in the end, relaxed in the middle, and we had to do a lot of catch-up," Cothron said.
"I think this team is getting it. It's just going to take a little more time. They seem to be understanding my style of play as far as defense goes. We should be OK by the time (the playoffs) roll around."
JV -- Manatee (3-4) got a 21-25, 25-8, 15-4 victory behind four aces from Kaitlyn Dietch and Gillian Cassidy.