tampabay.com

Past revisits the present Royal Knights

Lake Howell again ousts River Ridge.

By MIKE TOMPKINS
Published October 29, 2006


NEW PORT RICHEY - For the second straight year, River Ridge's season ended at the hands of Lake Howell.

With offensive firepower new to the Royal Knights, the Silver Hawks cruised to a 25-16, 25-19, 25-21 victory in the region semifinals. River Ridge had no answer for Lake Howell outside hitters Autumn Thomas and Ruthie King, who combined for 39 kills.

"We couldn't stop their outside hitters," Royal Knight coach Heidi Castelamare said. "We couldn't make the adjustment to stop (King)."

Another thing River Ridge couldn't do was find a rhythm. Defensively, the Royal Knights held up well against Lake Howell (22-7). But they could not get anything going offensively.

After a sideout, only twice did River Ridge (21-7) string together three or more points in a row - and that was only in the first game.

"I think it was their outside attack," Castelamare said. "I think every other ball at least went to either (Thomas) or (King). That really prevented us from getting anything going."

King, who entered with a school-record 534 kills, finished with a game-high 22 and a team-high seven digs. Thomas added 17 kills and six digs.

The Royal Knights were paced by Brook Castelamare's seven kills and 13 digs. Libero Joy Barquin, River Ridge's lone senior, finished with a game-high 19 digs.