Hillsborough: News and notes

By JOE SMITH and KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writers
Published December 7, 2007

Class 2A state championship


Tampa Catholic (11-2) vs. Madison County (12-1)

When: 7 Saturday

Where: Citrus Bowl, Orlando



Panther named Miss Volleyball

Plant senior setter Kellie Catanach will be named Florida's Miss Volleyball by the Florida Dairy Farmers at 8:30 this morning in a ceremony at the school.

Catanach, the Times' player of the year, led the Panthers to back-to-back Class 5A state championships. She will play for Duke next year.

Catanach becomes the fourth bay area player to earn Miss Volleyball honors: Berkeley Prep's Janet Okogbaa (05-06), Delvane Diaz ('99-00) and Kelly Flannigan ('92-93) the others.

"When you pull up the names of who has already won this, it's amazing how she's going to be part of the state's history of volleyball," Plant coach Leanna Taylor said. "It's great."


No view to a thrill

When Armwood beat Miami Booker T. Washington 37-34 at Miami's Traz Powell Stadium two years ago, Hawks linebacker Petey Smith had the worst seat during his team's fourth-quarter rally. He was on the bench.

Then a freshman, Smith hurt his knee on a kickoff late in the first half after a Booker T. player slammed into him. He calls it the worst football-related injury he has ever sustained.

"It was really bad," Smith said.

What was worse: "I was sitting there on the bench, and everybody was in my way," Smith said. "I couldn't see anything."


Down, not out

Her youthful team is 0-9, but first-year Robinson girls basketball coach Jessica Vitale isn't discouraged. "I see improvement every time we step on the court," she said.

As the Knights search for win No. 1, so too does Vitale, 24. This is the New York native and former college player's first head coaching job. She spent two seasons as a Tampa Prep assistant.

"We want it," Vitale said. "We know we've got a lot to do, but if we keep working, we'll get it, somehow, someway, somewhere."


Miami fan club

Armwood senior defensive tackle Zachori Beasley should have added cheering support tonight at Miami's Traz Powell Stadium. Beasley's extended family - including late grandmother Mable Upshaw - are from the

area. Beasley's mother, Lori, said there should be 15-20 Beasleys attending. Well, except Lori. She works for the post office and couldn't get the time off.

"The mail has to be delivered," she said with a chuckle.


Soccer showdown

The Jesuit boys host Plant at 5 today in a key district showdown - both are undefeated in Class 5A-10. The Tigers (10-1) have been sparked by keeper Max Ronaldo (five straight shutouts) and midfielder Josh Menendez.