Prep volleyball | Manatee Hurricanes sweep district rival Braden River Pirates

jlembo@bradenton.comSeptember 28, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Rachel Batey's in-game chats are based around two rules:

Play with heart. Care about every point.

"I can't reiterate it enough," Manatee's volleyball coach said. "That's all I tell them, over and over again."

It appears to be working. The host Hurricanes swept Braden River on Thursday, beating the Pirates 3-0 in a Class 7A-District 11 match that got off to a tense start before Manatee rolled in Games 2 and 3.

The Hurricanes won Game 1 25-19 before cinching a pair of 25-11 victories.

Batey's only adjustment? Emphasizing her rules between the first and second game.

"I loved how the girls played together, they have no problem coming from behind, they don't get down on themselves," Batey said. "The score between the first game and the (last) two was a huge difference, and I'm so proud of them."

Once Manatee (7-1, 3-0) got its offense in gear, the Hurricanes looked unstoppable thanks to a strong front line powered by Becca Butler (nine kills) and freshman Jacqui Armer (seven kills).

Manatee ended Game 2 on a 10-3 run thanks to three late blocks from Armer and fellow freshman Haley Coulter, and pulled away in the finale once Rachel Drummey got to the outside.

Drummey finished with six kills to go along with five aces and a pair of blocks, while Kayla Armer dished out 22 assists.

"After that (first) game, our coach said we won, but we didn't play as well as we should have," Drummey said. "She just told us to pick it up and we did."

And in the process, ran their own winning streak to seven while snapping the Pirates' own seven-game winning streak.

"We're here, and now we're 3-0 in the district," Batey said. "We just want to keep pushing. We have big goals and we have a big team, and we're just really excited about the season.

"I'm so blessed to have girls on the team that really just enjoy being here and they want to work hard."

Courtney McDevitt had six kills, eight assists and seven digs, and Demi-Shay Watchorn had 12 digs and 12 assists for the Pirates (7-3, 2-1).

Manatee and Braden River meet again 9 a.m. Saturday morning at Charlotte's Gene Gorman Volleyball Tournament in a match will not count toward the district standings.

"That first game, we were close, but we made our own mistakes on easy plays and easy points," coach Matt McElhiney said. "I think that would have been a big confidence booster, to come out and take that first game...We were digging their hits, but we can't consistently dig everything they're throwing at us if we're giving them free balls. They're just too good of hitters for that."

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service