BRADENTON -- If you subscribe to the existence of a trap match, Manatee’s volleyball team was staring one directly in the face Tuesday night.
Most of the Hurricanes are battling a stubborn head cold. Then the roster sustained a shake-up when starter Desiree McDonald left the team this week.
And on the minds of everyone was Thursday’s big district match with Braden River.
Consequently, Hurricanes coach Rachel Batey was pleased with her girls following their 3-1 non-district win over Riverview. The victory ran Manatee’s winning streak to six.
“(Tuesday) was really hard on us,” Batey said. “They fought. They’re so competitive, they’re not just going to let it go and lose.”
They’re balanced, too.
Hurricanes senior setter Kayla Armer had 28 assists and had no shortage of hitters to get the ball to.
“If one girl has an off day, then you have the backups,” Batey said. “It’s so nice, because if you have that one power hitter, you rely on them a lot in that front row. And we’re lucky we don’t have to do that.”
Rachel Drummey had 16 kills, including three straight to give the Canes a 14-10 lead in Game 4, while Allie Clements (10 kills) and Becca Butler (four kills) armed Manatee’s line with more depth.
“It’s great, because you can put anybody in at any given time, and you know that they’re going to do well,” Clements said. “Our subs come in and get kills.”
Armer didn’t just set up the kills -- she spun and tipped in a kill to give Manatee a 22-16 lead in Game 2, which the Canes eventually won 25-19.
The Rams won Game 3 to prevent the sweep.
The Canes (6-1) now turn their attention to the Pirates. Both teams are 2-0 in Class 7A-District 11 play, and Braden River coach Matt McElhiney was at Manatee on Tuesday.
“We’re really excited because so many of our girls played in club for him,” Batey said. “So it’s always a fun match.”
The Pirates and Hurricanes will play in the same pool Saturday during a tournament in Charlotte, will meet again in the Manatee County tournament Oct. 5 and 6 and play once again in the regular season.
And the two could meet each other in the district tournament, as well.
“We’ll be seeing them a lot this year,” Batey said. “And it’ll be fun every time.”