Prep volleyball | Venice Indians stop Manatee Hurricanes' winning streak at 20

Manatee settlesfor second seedas run ends at 20

jlembo@bradenton.comOctober 12, 2012 

VENICE -- Thursday's match had just ended, and Rachel Batey was already looking toward the next one.

Manatee's volleyball team had its 20-match winning streak snapped by Venice, losing 3-0 in a contest that decided the top seed for the Class 7A-District 11 tournament that gets under way Monday, Oct. 22.

There's a good chance the second-seeded Hurricanes will see the Indians again in the district final. And that match will be in Bradenton, away from Venice's raucous home crowd, which included a drum corps Thursday night.

That could make a difference, said Batey, the Canes' head coach.

"I'm glad we get to see them again somewhere else," she said. "They're known for having a good crowd; they don't lose at home. But we showed them they need to keep working to beat us in the district playoffs."

Batey said the atmosphere got into the Hurricanes' heads early. The first game, in which Venice (20-3, 5-0) jumped to a 12-4 lead en route to a 25-16 victory, gave that theory merit.

Manatee (20-2, 4-1) made things much closer in the final two games, taking a 14-13 lead on Becca Butler's kill in Game 2 before the Indians closed out a 25-22 win.

And the Canes were in control in Game 3, ripping off a three-point rally to take a 15-13 lead on a block by Butler and Jacqui Armer before going up 18-17 on an Indians service error.

But Venice, ranked 24th in the nation by MaxPreps, scored the last four points to close out the match, 25-19.

"We definitely ambushed them in Game 1," Venice coach Brian Wheatley said. "Credit toward them: They kept themselves together, kept fighting away, and it was a good, quality match."

Danika Yoder (38 assists) guided an offense that received big pushes from Gen Beaumier and Holly Mattmuller (14 kills each), while Taylor Jais (16 digs) and Mattmuller (17 digs) guided the defense.

"Our schedule clearly prepares us for matches like this," Wheatley said. "When a team battles us, we're not going to back down."

And Manatee battled, thanks to the hitting of Rachel Drummey (10 kills), Butler (eight kills) and freshman Haley Coulter (nine kills).

Kayla Armer had seven kills and dished out 23 assists.

Consequently, the Canes turned a possible early rout into a tight match.

"In the second and third game," Batey said, "we had to do everything better than the first game."

The district portion of the regular season is over, and both teams will play out their schedules next week.

Manatee and Venice received first-round byes into the semifinals, meaning each team must win just once for a rematch in the championship match.

The Indians are not permitted to host a postseason match, a punishment stemming from Venice throwing its regional runner-up trophy in the water in 2010.

"I'm just ready to see them again in districts," Batey said. "I think my team will know what to expect."

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