STUART -- The Stuart Martin County volleyball team erupted at halfcourt of the Don Wallen Athletic Complex following a stunning 3-1 victory over Manatee on Wednesday in the Class 7A-Region 3 tournament.
Martin County won the match 25-15, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 and advances to host Venice at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the region semifinals.
"Manatee is an excellent team," Martin County coach Krissy Schmidt said. "They made a few big runs and they have some great hitters. They are a very good team, but our girls had a lot of fire tonight and they stayed in the game."
After a dominant first game, Martin County (21-7) surrendered a 6-2 lead to fall in Game 1.
"They kept a level head throughout no matter what the score was," Schmidt said. "I was really proud of them. Manatee started the first game a little shaky.
"They had a lot more fire. In the middle of the second game the girls really turned it around after the timeout."
Martin County trailed 18-13 in the third game before clawing to victory. A tense crowd clenched to every point after a 7-2 Martin County advantage turned to a 20-20 tie in the fourth game, but the Tigers used a service error and clutch defense to finish the Hurricanes' season at 23-4.
"The first match we were playing with a lineup we had never played before," Manatee coach Rachel Batey said. "Our stud power hitter (Becca Butler) got hurt last practice. We never had a chance to practice with the lineup we started with tonight.
"Rachel Drummey and Kayla Armer gave one hundred percent tonight and I'm really proud of them."
Air Bethel had 11 kills in the victory. Madisen Lydon had 13 kills, 16 digs and three aces. Danielle Dodge had 15 assissts, 10 kills and two blocks while Shea Eder added 30 assists.
"Now that we are in regionals, its one and done so we came out and didn't want to end our season," Lydon said.
Martin County lost to Venice 18-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-22, 15-13 on Sept. 4.
"Heart is a big thing with our team," Bethel said. "If we come out with heart and together then that is how we overcome our opponents."