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Tornadoes rally, then falter late in Game 5

By BRANDON WRIGHT
Published October 7, 2005


CLEARWATER - Clearwater's public address announcer could have saved himself a lot of work Thursday night if he had recorded five words that seemed to blare repeatedly from the speakers in Jack L. Wilson Gym - Lindsey Pflugner on the kill.

Pflugner's 29 kills helped Sarasota Riverview, the second-ranked team in Class 6A, stave off a late comeback by the Tornadoes 26-24, 15-25, 25-21, 23-25, 16-14, spoiling Clearwater's senior night.

"(Pflugner) is a very dominating player," Clearwater coach Tracey Sedely said. "She was a big hitter."

Pflugner, a 6-foot-2 first-team all-state selection as a junior and William and Mary signee, had little trouble slicing through Clearwater's smaller defense.

"She was hitting from the front row, the back row, everywhere," Sedely said. "We got her a few times but not as many as we needed to."

The loss was only Clearwater's second of the season and it was the Tornadoes' first match since earning the No. 10 ranking (Class 5A) in the state poll.

"We've got to take care of the little things," Kelsey Salava said. "Of course we're upset we lost, but we're going use this as a learning tool."

Clearwater's late rally was necessary thanks to some sloppy play in the first and third games. The Tornadoes committed 40 unforced errors compared to the Rams' 27, including 15 service errors.

"Those 15 missed serves were all the points in Game 5 right there," Sedely said. "We made silly mistakes and that's what got us tonight."

The Rams took Game 1, but the Tornadoes went on a 7-1 run to close out Game 2. Channing Salava capped that stretch with a pair of aces to even the match at one-all. Pflugner buried three consecutive kills to end Game 3 and the Rams jumped ahead 14-6 in the fourth before Sedely had seen enough. The first-year coach called timeout and challenged her team to step up or pack it in.

"We needed to pick it up at that point," Kelsey Salava said.

The strategy worked as the Tornadoes rebounded with an 8-1 run and tied it at 16 on a Teale Richards' ace. The Rams took a 21-20 lead on a pair of Emily Werner kills, but Clearwater rallied for five of the last seven points to again tie the score.

Kelsey Salava's kill split a pair of blockers to put Clearwater up 14-13 with the Tornadoes serving for the match in Game 5. But the Rams took the last three points to dash a gutsy comeback attempt.

"The girls fought hard when they needed to but they have to learn to play like that all the time," Sedely said.

Kristin Fisher led the Tornadoes with 19 kills.

PINELLAS PARK 3, OSCEOLA 0: Jalisa Foster and Sandra Kellar led the way offensively as the Patriots swept Osceola 25-11, 25-21, 30-28. Pinellas Park's Kelly Daire added five kills.

IRC 3, SPC 0: Brianne Yeates' 11 kills and four aces led Indian Rocks Christian past St. Petersburg Catholic 25-9, 25-13, 25-21. IRC's Tabitha Henley finished with 31 assists and Jessica Jones had 18 digs.

KESWICK CHRISTIAN 3, SHORECREST 0: Laura Hodupp had 10 kills to lead the Crusaders over Shorecrest 25-19, 25-15, 25-19. Keswick Christian's Amanda Turner and Nicole Klepacki each finished with six kills and Laurie Norris had a team-high 12 assists.