Panthers, Spartans, Broncos still alive in VB

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 10/27/21

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Ridgeview High did not mince words as the Panthers came out thrashing to defeat the Middleburg High Broncos in the district 3-5A championship game Thursday night at Clay High …

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Panthers, Spartans, Broncos still alive in VB


GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Ridgeview High did not mince words as the Panthers came out thrashing to defeat the Middleburg High Broncos in the district 3-5A championship game Thursday night at Clay High School.

At St. Johns Country Day School, the Lady Spartans (17-5), a sixth region seed, faced off against Christ’s Church in the district 4-2A semifinal and won a 3-0 match before losing 3-0 to Oak Hall. Oak Hall (19-8) defeated top seed Countryside Christian (16-6) in that semifinal. Oak Hall is ranked eighth in Class 2A; St. Johns 16th.

At Clay High, the third ranked Ridgeview High Panthers in Class 5A had to fend off the seventh ranked Middleburg High Broncos in a rematch of two regular season wins for the Panthers. Ridgeview had been ranked number one during the regular season before losses to upper class powers 6A-Leon (2nd in 6A) and 7A-Bartram Trail (8th in 7A).

In region 1-2A, St. Johns will travel to St. John Paul II (10-13) in Tallahassee in their region opener on October 26. Harvest Community (17-4) , the number two seed, will host 7th seed Aucilla Christian (19-2)in the other semifinal.

In the region 1-5A openers, Ridgeview, the second seed to Mosley High of Lynn Haven (18-8), will host seventh seed Panama City Arnold (13-13) on Wed., Oct. 27 while Middleburg, fifth seed, travels to fourth seed Stanton (16-9).

At Clay High, with the Lady Broncos (17-10) winning game one in a stunning opener; 25-18, in dominating fashion, it became a Panther swing in momentum as Ridgeview used the blocking prowess of Haley Robinson and the scoring accuracy of lead scorer Elaina Reynolds (16 Kills) and London Francis (19 kills) to topple the Broncos early intent of a win against the now 3-0 Panthers in games between the two powerhouses. Ridgeview continue on to wins of 25-19, 25-18 and 25-22, to win the seventh consecutive district title for the program. The first six titles were under Destiny Brightman, now Orange Park High athletic director, with former assistant Steven Henry taking off for this season and continuing the streak.

Ridgeview’s net presence spread throughout the front line roster wiht Zoe Whaley smacking down nine blocks, Robinson with five and Francis with three.

Middleburg’s top scorer continues to be sophomore Connor Rahn who finished with 18 with Brooke Forkum, a freshman, adding 10, to give coach Carrie Prewitt, who plans to retire next year, one more round of firepower to end her illustrious career. Middleburg would only register nine blocks on the night with Forkum and Allie Cox knocking down three apiece.

In other district tournaments, Keystone Heights lost in the district 4-3 semifinal to Father Lopez 3-2 after beating Umatilla 3-0 in that opener. Lopez lost 3-0 to Trinity Catholic, the top seed in the championship game.

In district 4-6A, Fleming Island unfortunately drew the best team in Florida and a former USA top team, Ponte Vedra in the semifinal with the Sharks winning a 3-0 match over the Golden Eagles then Fletcher 3-0 in the final.

In district 1-7A, Oakleaf won their opener over Sandalwood 3-2 after winning games three and four, then the overtime game to advance to the semifinal against top seed Bartram Trail. Bartram Trail won 3-0 and lost to Creekside 3-0 in the final. Creekside, the third seed, defeated second seed Mandarin 3-2 in their semifinal.

Clay was Middleburg’s semifinal opponent in the district 3-5A tournament.


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