By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000
CLEARWATER -- No worries, coach. Your team is just fine.
After what Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly described as a string of lackluster performances, her No. 3-ranked Cougars put forth an impressive effort Tuesday, dismantling Ridgewood 15-10, 15-1 in the region quarterfinal.
"For the first time in several matches, I feel like we're back to where we were," Bayly said. "We're kind of peaking again."
Countryside advances to the Region 3 final four Saturday at Sarasota. River Ridge (22-5) and Plant (24-4) play at 2 p.m., and Countryside (27-3) meets No. 7 Sarasota (25-5) at 4 p.m. The winners advance to the 7 p.m. title match.
Countryside senior setter Erin Dixon (18 assists) distributed to outside hitters Beverly Stasis (seven kills) and Katelen Dixon (four kills) and middle blocker Carly Brieske (six kills) as Countryside fought off Ridgewood in the first game and whistled through the second.
Fewer mistakes was the biggest difference, as Countryside refused to give away points and Ridgewood cracked. In the second game, Katelen Dixon served 10 successive points, from 3-1 to 13-1.
"We told (the team) we couldn't give them easy balls, couldn't hit a lot of balls out or a lot into the net, and we did a pretty good job of that," Bayly said.
The Cougars played Sarasota in the preseason, winning in three games at Countryside.
NEW PORT RICHEY -- River Ridge coach Heidi Castelamare feels her team is better than last year's.
The Knights proved her right with Tuesday's 15-10, 15-8 win over Seminole in their Class 5A, Region 3 quarterfinal.
"I knew once we got out of our district it would be a little easier," Castelamare said.
With the win the Knights (23-5) advance to the regional semifinal, one step further than last year's team. Saturday's match will be against Plant at Sarasota High.
Jen Dombrowski led River Ridge with three kills and seven blocks.
Her teammates, Ali Bigger and Brandi Young, each had six kills. Two of Bigger's kills came early in the second contest to help the Knights overcome a 3-0 deficit.
Young continued the rally with a smash in the middle of Seminole's defense that tied the score 4-4 off Bigger's serve. The point was one of three by Bigger that enabled River Ridge to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.
Several mis-hits by River Ridge kept the Warhawks (12-7) close in the first contest, but the Knights did not panic, even when they trailed early in the second game.
"We don't shake much," Castelamare said.
"We missed some serves and had some hitting errors, but they did some different things that we hadn't seen like single-blocking in the middle."
Jen Hansen and Erin Hunington had some key blocks for Seminole.
-- Steve Lee
Naples St. John Neumann defeated Keswick Christian 15-13, 15-2 in their Class 2A, Region 3 quarterfinal Tuesday in Naples. The loss to the No. 2-ranked Celtics ends the No. 10 Crusaders' season with an 18-12 record and denies Keswick its bid for a third consecutive state final four appearance.
The Crusaders battled back from a 10-1 deficit to tie the first game at 13, but the Celtics recorded a block for a sideout and then scored the next two points.
It was 3-2 in the second game before St. John Neumann (26-3) reeled off 12 straight points for the win.
Lindsey Kruis had 10 kills and Kristin Mock seven for Keswick, and Lindsey Crosby had nine assists and four service points.
-- Times staff
Durant d. Sarasota Riverview 15-11, 15-8
Venice d. Sickles 15-12, 15-4
Plant d. Port Charlotte 15-5, 15-13
Sarasota d. Wharton 15-8, 8-15, 15-4
Lakewood d. Tampa Bay Tech 15-5, 9-15, 15-4
Clearwater d. Leto 15-1, 15-5
Berkeley Prep d. Frostproof 15-0, 15-13
Academy of the Holy Names d. Avon Park 15-10, 15-2
Tampa Prep d. Bradenton Chr. 14-16, 15-3, 15-9
Bayshore Chr. d. Evangel Chr. 15-9. 15-1Sonrise Chr. d. Seminole Presbyterian 15-10, 15-12
Durant vs. Orlando University, 2
Plant vs. River Ridge, 2
Berkeley Prep vs. Sara. Cardinal Mooney, 2
Acad. of the Holy Names vs. Fort Myers Bishop Verot, 4
Tampa Prep vs. Orangewood Chr., 2
Bayshore Chr. vs. Merritt Island-Central Fla. Chr. winner