By JOHN C. COTEY
© St. Petersburg Times,
QUOTABLE: "But only for a little while." -- ASHLEE BROWER, River Ridge passing specialist on crying after colliding with teammate Rachel Osterholt and breaking the growth plate in her collarbone Saturday at the Hillsborough Community College Volleyball Tournament.
VOLLEYBALL: Royal Knights cannot defend tourney title
River Ridge rolled through pool play and cut through the opposition in the semifinals before falling to Northeast on Saturday in the championship match of the Hillsborough Community College Volleyball Tournament.
The Royal Knights won the tournament last year and expected to repeat considering the field was less than stacked and they have one of their better teams.
But after four wins (running their season-opening winning streak to eight), including sweeps of Wharton and Auburndale and a three-game win over Central -- all playoff teams in 2000 -- the Royal Knights fell flat in the final in three.
"We didn't play as a team. We just weren't together," middle hitter Rachel Osterholt said. "Everybody got down on themselves (after we lost the first game), and then we weren't talking.
"We never really fully recovered."
The Royal Knights now are 8-1 and undefeated in Sunshine Athletic Conference and district play. They meet Gulf at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
Hudson wins! Hudson wins! ... finally
A few lineup changes and some renewed spirit lifted Hudson to its first win Thursday, prompting coach Linda McQuade to declare of her new lineup, "We like it."
The Cobras beat Land O'Lakes 15-3, 15-8 to snap a four-game losing streak dating to last year's Class 4A state championship, which Hudson lost to Clearwater.
"I don't really know how we did it," McQuade said jokingly. "It's some kind of miracle."
Setter Kelly Aguis served 13 points in a row in Game 1, and the Cobras' improved play at the net controlled Game 2. "We were very rhythmic and getting kills," McQuade said. "That's something new and different for us."
WHO: Mitchell at Wesley Chapel
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
THE SKINNY: The two new kids on the block go at it in a match featuring two upstarts. The Wildcats set the bar high for second-year programs last year when it won the school's first district title. Mitchell hopes to match the Wildcats' sophomore success.
For more information, call John Carroll at 774-4214
Ten thoughts on an alumni football league
1. When is the Times special alumni football preview coming out? Oh, it's in the health news section?
2. Chance for Hudson, Ridgewood and Gulf to exact revenge on Pasco ... uhh, never mind.
3. Wesley Chapel already is a 2-5 favorite to capture the 2003 title.
4. Gives us a chance to cover local athletes from ages 7 to 70.
5. Chance for Gulf to finally make the playoffs, any playoffs.
6. Potential for all-Hambrick, all-Pickett teams from east side.
7. Can settle the Greatest Player Ever debate once and for all.
8. Note to self: Buy stock in Dr. Steve Mirabello's practice.
9. Chance to see current coaches jaw at each other: "No, your gut is bigger."
10. Chance to find out if Bill Linderman really is the greatest Pasco County quarterback ever.
- Compiled by John C. Cotey
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111