Three Manatee County prep teams in region volleyball semifinals

jlembo@bradenton.comNovember 5, 2013 

Lakewood Ranch High School's Nicole Grant, left, and Coleen Campbell jump to block a shot by Seminole's Dominique Houdek during Tuesday night's varsity volleyball match in Lakewood Ranch. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

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BRADENTON -- In the eyes of Ralph McElhiney, Bayshore's special fall got rolling in the spring.

That was when the school's softball team made a stunning run to a region final.

Two softball players, Jojo Muldoon and Marina Clark, have played pivotal roles for the Bruins' volleyball team, and McElhiney even had Muldoon and Clark address the team last Tuesday, when Bayshore played its first regional volleyball game since 1987.

"This is a group of girls that will go on to play basketball, and they'll play well in basketball," McElhiney said. "They'll play soccer, they'll go into the softball season and they'll do well because they know how to win. So I'm not surprised at what they're doing.

"They're an inspiration to each other."

McElhiney hopes the winning continues right into Tuesday night, when the Bruins (12-11) head to Tampa Robinson for a Class 5A-Region 3 semifinal.

The winner plays for the Region 3 title, as well as a trip to the state final four, 2 p.m. Saturday against either Naples Lely or Arcadia DeSoto.

"They play like a family," McElhiney said of his Bruins, district champions for the first time since 1987. "They care about each other and support each other."

Bayshore is one of three area volleyball teams still playing.

Included in that list is Lakewood Ranch, which hosts Sarasota tonight in a Class 7A-Region 3 semifinal.

The Mustangs (23-5) defeated the Sailors in the District 10 championship game earlier in the year.

Winners of three straight district titles, the Mustangs

are looking for a second straight trip to the state semifinals.

Tuesday's winner meets either Fort Myers or Naples Gulf Coast for the regional title 2 p.m. Saturday.

Another local still standing is Out-of-Door Academy. The Thunder (15-5) hop over the Sunshine Skyway on Tuesday night for a Class 3A-Region 3 meeting with Clearwater Central Catholic.

The winner meets either Fort Myers Evangelical Christian or Community School of Naples for the region title 2 p.m. Saturday.

The volleyball state semifinals and finals will be played at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.

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