Prep volleyball | Bayshore advances to district final, will play in region for first time since 1987

Bayshore gets first region berth since '87

jlembo@bradenton.comOctober 23, 2013 

MANATEE -- The banner hangs inside Bayshore's gymnasium, a white rectangle with blue block lettering reminding everyone how long it had been since the school's volleyball team had made it past the district tournament.

The key word, however, is had.

The Bruins swept past Gulfport Boca Ciega 3-0 on Tuesday during a Class 5A-District 10 semifinal, sending top-seeded Bayshore into Thursday's championship match against Southeast.

It also guarantees the Bruins their first regional appearance since 1987.

The Region 3 tournaments gets underway Tuesday.

"This group of girls, they're a unique bench. They're very close to each other," coach Ralph McElhiney said. "It's not my team, it's their team, and we've kind of preached that all year."

Bayshore (10-11) was never in trouble Tuesday, beating the Pirates 25-16, 25-15, 25-14.

"I think that they were a little nervous at the beginning," McElhiney said. "But they stayed steady."

They also had the hard-hitting duo of JoJo Muldoon and Joy Norman, neither of whom Boca Ciega had much of an answer for.

Muldoon hammered clinching kills in games 1 and 2 and had a match-high 14.

Norman notched four straight kills late in Game 3 before teaming with Bianca Mannhart on a block to give Bayshore a 21-10 lead.

Norman had 12 kills, and Kristen Fleury set up the big hitters with 32 assists.

Bayshore now sets its sights on the Seminoles. The teams split this season, though both matches went the limit: The Bruins won in five during a district match while Southeast won in three at the county tournament.

The tournament's No. 2 seed, Southeast swept St. Petersburg Lakewood during Tuesday's other semifinal.

"We set a goal to win districts, and our goal isn't done yet," McElhiney said. "Speaking historically, it's awesome to have an opportunity to be in the district finals and all that. But our goal now is to play in November."

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