Plant captures fourth in Premier tournament

Mercy Academy of Kentucky wins the event, which included 16 teams from five states.

Published October 1, 2006

TAMPA - Plant finished fourth in the Berkeley Premier volleyball tournament, which featured 16 teams from five states. Three of the teams are ranked No. 1 in their respective divisions in Florida, and five of the six teams that won the state championship in their division last season participated in the tournament.

The Premier, a two-day event, was split into four pools of four and was composed of five-game matches. The Panthers went 3-0 in their pool, including defeating Brentwood (Tenn.) 23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 15-11. Brentwood, which entered the tournament 36-5, finished in seventh place.

"(Brentwood) was a really good team," Plant coach Leanna Taylor said. "They had 30-plus wins already this season. That was a huge win for us."

After pool play, the teams were reassigned into four final brackets based on wins. Plant was defeated in the semifinals by Mercy Academy (Ky.) 25-22, 11-25, 23-25, 25-22, 9-15. The Panthers then lost to Orlando's Lake Highland Prep 18-25, 25-20, 18-25, 25-21.

Junior setter Kellie Catanach led the Panthers in the tournament with 191 assists, 15 aces and 44 kills and was named to the all-tournament team. Danielle Erb led Plant with 18 aces and had 25 kills. Freshman defensive specialist Ali McCurdy had 72 digs. Plant played 18 games in the two-day tournament, and Taylor said teams may not have been ready for the five-game matches.

"Fatigue is a problem in a long tournament," Taylor said. "I think we were physically prepared for it but you can just get fatigued over time."

Mercy Academy won the tournament for the second straight year. Mercy defeated previously unbeaten Winter Park 3-2. Mercy went 15-4 in games while winning all five matches.

Host Berkeley Prep finished the tournament in 13th place, defeating Woodward Academy (Ga.).