BRADENTON --Another year, another regional tournament for Lakewood Ranch's volleyball team.
The Mustangs have made a habit of not only reaching the regional playoffs, but doing so with a district championship trophy in tow. Lakewood Ranch claimed its fourth straight district championship last week by sweeping Sarasota in the Class 7A-District 10 finals and hosts Tarpon Springs East Lake at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a Region 3 quarterfinal.
Winners advance to next Tuesday's semifinals.
"It's really exciting to win four. It shows how much this program has improved and how hard we worked," Mustangs senior Nicole Grant said Thursday after beating the Sailors. "This year we click a lot more and get along on and the goal is to finish what we started our sophomore year and get back to state."
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Mustangs are 21-7. They were state semifinalists for the first time in 2012 and reached the Region 3 championship match last year where they lost to Naples Gulf Coast.
Another local fresh off winning another district championship is Manatee, which won its second straight Class 8A-District 7 title Thursday with a sweep over Palm Harbor University. The Hurricanes (21-5) host Tampa Wharton 7 p.m. Tuesday in a Region 2 quarterfinal.
It's the third straight tip to the regional tournament for Manatee, though the team hasn't won a regional match since 2007.
"Our goal is state, obviously. We have the potential, we just need to work together as a team," said defensive spe
cialist Jesse Durst, Manatee's lone senior. "But we're really focusing on taking it one game at a time. That's all our coach says -- 'One game at a time, one game at a time.' The second we look at state and look at the big picture, we're going to lose."
Cardinal Mooney won a district title by beating Out-of-Door Academy in a Class 3A-District 10 final. The Cougars head to Clearwater Calvary Christian on Wednesday for a Region 3 quarterfinal.
The Thunder also advanced to the regional tournament and will be on the road Wednesday at Clearwater Central Catholic.
Southeast also hits the road Wednesday when the Seminoles, the runners-up from Class 5A-District 10, play a Region 3 quarterfinal at Tampa Robinson.
Class 8A-Region 2
Tampa Wharton at Manatee
UP NEXT: Palm Harbor University of Valrico Bloomingdale
Class 7A-Region 3
Tarpon Springs East Lake at Lakewood Ranch
UP NEXT: Sarasota or Seminole
Class 5A-Region 3
Southeast at Tampa Robinson
UP NEXT: Gulfport Boca Ciega or Tampa Middleton
Class 3A-Region 3
Clearwater Calvary Christian at Cardinal Mooney
UP NEXT: Clearwater Central Catholic or Out-of-Door Academy
Out-of-Door Academy at Clearwater Central Catholic
UP NEXT: Cardinal Mooney or Clearwater Calvary Christian
Matches begin at 7 p.m.; winners advance to next Tuesday's region semifinals