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Bayshore rises to comeback

SCOTT PURKS
Published November 16, 2003

LAKELAND - Bayshore Christian accomplished something Saturday at theLakeland Center few teams have done.

After being dominated two games by Orangewood Christian, the Faith Warriors survived a match point to take the third 29-27.

Then, as Orangewood tightened, Bayshore won the final games 25-16, 15-11 to take home its second state title.

"Unbelievable," Orangewood coach Diane Pruim said. "It's hard to believe how (Bayshore) hung in there.

"Hard to believe."

Bayshore (30-2) admitted to stomachaches and praying but never lost the faith, not even at match point.

"It was tense," Bayshore's only senior, Katie Mitcham, said of Game 3. "I was saying, "Please, please don't let any balls fall. Please make perfect passes. Please make perfect hits."'

And for the most part, they did.

By the end of Game 4, the momentum had swung.

"Normally, I don't say this or even think this during a match because I never want to jinx anything," Mitcham said. "But after we won Game 4, I knew we were going to win the match.

"I felt it. I knew it."

Orangewood (28-4) had similar feelings after winning the first two games 25-20, 25-22 and getting to match point.

"Our game plan was working just like we thought it would," Pruim said. "And then we were right there. All we needed was just one more point. Just one more.

"You can think about all the points that could have gone either way. One serve we missed. One ball we let drop. Just one point One point from the state championship."

When Bayshore took an 8-2 lead in the fourth, Orangewood admitted to feeling the strain.

"I think we were getting frustrated with each other, and then we were frustrated with ourselves," setter Rachel Miller said. "I don't think we attacked like we did in the first two games."

Maybe the best news for both teams is they return most of the players for next season.

Bayshore returns everybody but one. And Orangewood returns four top contributors.

"Hopefully, we can play them again (next year)," Pruim said.

Bayshore Christian coach Melanie Humenansky, who guided Bayshore to its first state title in 1998, said it was exciting to think about what could be ahead.

"Hopefully we'll be back again soon."

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