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State volleyball: Bayshore nabs fourth crown
Bayshore Christian notches fourth state championship since 1998.
By Keith Niebuhr
Published November 16, 2007
Coach Melanie Humenansky, center in white, and the Bayshore Christian team celebrate their Class 1A victory over Warner Christian for the state championship.
[Daniel Wallace | Times]
[Daniel Wallace | Times]
Bayshore Christian's Mandy Burns and Ashlea Ballengee exult in their Class A title, the team's fourth since 1998. Coach Melanie Humenansky says there's "no doubt" her program is tops among small schools in the state after beating South Daytona Warner Christian in four games.
LAKELAND - Not long after Sami Stokes' powerful kill gave Bayshore Christian a thrilling win over South Daytona Warner Christian in Thursday's Class A final, Faith Warriors coach Melanie Humenansky was asked if she thought her program was the best among all small schools in Florida.
"No doubt," Humenansky quickly responded.
At this point, it would be hard to argue with her.
In a dramatic match with numerous twists and turns, Humenansky's quad overcome a slow start and several tense moments to earn the program's fourth state title with a 16-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 victory. All have come since 1998 and three in the past five years. This decade, the Faith Warriors (28-5) have four championship match appearances and are 24-5 in the playoffs.
"It's just amazing," senior outside hitter Jannica Mollett said. "I'm so happy."
All of Humenansky's title teams have been special, but this one undoubtedly will be remembered as one of her favorites.
"They truly are a team," she said.
They certainly were Thursday.
Mollett, who last year was at another school and didn't even play, had a match-high 22 kills despite battling cold-like symptoms. Stokes, a junior outside hitter whose sister played for Bayshore's previous title team in 2004, had eight kills and seven aces.
Unheralded middle blockers Gabby Fernandez and Valencia King combined for 12 kills and were defensive forces at the net.
Junior libero Sara Lucia, one of the smallest players on the court, spearheaded the defense with 23 digs, many coming as she dove to the floor. Senior setter Ashlea Ballengee had 34 assists and ended her career having played for three title teams.
Several others contributed.
Warner Christian (27-3) was a formidable foe. Behind star middle blocker Jordan Holcomb, the Eagles dominated the opening game and were always within reach even as Bayshore took the lead. But down the stretch, the Faith Warriors simply had too many weapons and made too many clutch plays.
"I congratulate them on their perseverance," Warner Christian coach Debbie Wingard said. "They're a very good team."
Sami Stokes, Jr., Bayshore: The outside hitter had 14 digs, eight kills and seven service aces.
Jannica Mollett, Sr., Bayshore: The outside hitter produced a match-high 22 kills to go with 23 digs.