'It felt good': Pirates take down Seabreeze on the Sandcrabs' senior night
Down 24-19 in the third set, the Seabreeze volleyball team was on the ropes.
When Matanzas’ soft, blooping serve found the hands of the Sandcrabs' Harlyn Kaler, the ball popped straight up. The rest of the Seabreeze team just stared at the ball as it plummeted to the court to end the set — and the match.
“It was just the motivation to play as a team and really just to finish the match,” Matanzas coach Julie Menendez said of the sweep. “Our goal tonight was to come here and win.”
The Pirates were led by junior hitter Alyssia Paiz, who slammed down a match-high 15 kills. In addition, freshman Brianna Whitfield totaled six kills and a team-high nine assists.
In each set, the Sandcrabs started out with the lead.
The Pirates were down by as much as five points before taking the first set 25-22. The Pirates were down 11-8 before storming back to clinch the second set 25-21. And in the third set, the Pirates, staring down an 11-6 deficit, battled back to tie the game at 12 and ultimately took final frame 25-19.
“We came in here knowing that they were going to be a lot stronger than the first time we played them,” Paiz said of the Sandcrabs. “But we got a lot stronger, too, and it really showed this time. I think we did a really good job.”
And while Paiz said it felt good to take down Seabreeze on the Sandcrabs’ senior night, the team’s attention is now on the next opponent: crosstown rival Flagler Palm Coast.
The two squads are set to meet at Matanzas High School at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, for the Pirates’ senior night and final game of the regular season.
“It’s always exciting when we play FPC because, honestly, the girls all grew up together,” Menendez said. “So it’s exciting to have that rivalry with each other. It’s a friendly rivalry that happens. So it’s cool. And obviously, we want the seniors to play hard that night. We’ll see what happens.”
And after the battle with the Bulldogs, the Pirates begin district play on Monday, Oct. 16.
“Our district is at a high level,” Menendez said. “Any of these games where we have to fight hard is definitely going to prepare us for districts.”