Prep volleyball | Bayshore beats Southeast for first district championship since 1987

Bayshore downs Southeast in four, claims first crown since 1987

twolfrum@bradenton.comOctober 25, 2013 

BAYSHORE GARDENS -- Bayshore's lead was slipping away, so head coach Ralph McElhiney called timeout to stem the tide in the Class 5A-District 10 volleyball final Thursday.

"I said, 'We're OK, because we still have a lead, and we get this sideout, we're at 24,'" McElhiney said. "And we had a good server going back to make 25. It was more of a settle down, relax, play your game. That's how you got here, and that's why you're going to win."

And what McElhiney received out of that break was a monumental block from sophomore JoJo Muldoon.

The play lifted the Bruins (11-11) closer to an eventual district championship, their first since 1987. That also was the only time Bayshore's volleyball program has made the region round of the state tournament.

Bayshore bested Southeast in four games -- 25-19, 15-25, 25-21, 25-22 -- to earn a home match in next week's region quarterfinals. The Bruins will meet Tampa Middleton, the runner-up from District 9.

"They're a unique bunch of girls," McElhiney said. "They are a family, they play like a family. ... They gel, and they are friends. They like each other, and they hang out with each other. And they support each other."

Kristen Fleury (five digs, 33 assists), Kat Bradshaw (six aces, five digs, four kills, one block), Muldoon (nine kills, two blocks) and Joy Norman (16 kills, one block) guided Bayshore to the title.

Bradshaw was dynamite with her floating short serves in the first and fourth games, and both went Bayshore's way.

However, Southeast (6-17) didn't wilt, capturing the second game and keeping the final two games close.

In particular, the fourth game saw the Seminoles rally from a late six-point deficit to come within one point of the Bruins at 23-22.

But that's when McElhiney called timeout, and the Bruins responded with the final two points to claim the title.

Southeast head coach Nancy Cothron, though, was pleased with how her team has improved its effort over the season.

"The big thing for my team that's turned around from the beginning of the season until now is we are fighting to win and not worrying about losing," Cothron said.

Emma Bartges (18 kills, nine digs, four aces), Marline Valcin (eight kills, seven digs, two aces), Casey Harman (six kills, two aces) and Lacey Sanchez (25 assists, 15 digs, two aces) paced the Noles, who will hit the road at Tampa Robinson for the region quarterfinals.

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