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Strong serving by Lakewood dooms Titans' first-ever playoff run and advances the Spartans.
By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000
TAMPA -- Lakewood (17-8) ended Tampa Bay Tech's first-ever playoff run with a 15-5, 9-15, 15-4 regional quarterfinal win at Tech.
The Titans (12-4) were a perfect 12-0 in district play this season and won their first district title, but Lakewood's serves were too much on Tuesday.
In the first game, Tiffany Hanna served six straight points to give the Spartans a 7-2 lead. With the score 13-4, Tech called timeout, and coach Nitta Omensetter had the team run wind sprints. Tech still lost the game, but the wakeup call helped it gain momentum in the second game.
On the service of Kristen Becker and the kills of Melissa Wiggins, Tech fought past the Spartans' 6-feet-1 middle hitter Roberta Perman to win the second game.
In the third game, however, Hanna's serves and Perman's blocks helped Lakewood to an 11-2 lead, and it never looked back. Tech staved off match point five times but could not hold off the inevitable.
This is the second consecutive year Lakewood has won a regional quarterfinal in Tampa. Last year, the Spartans beat Wharton before falling in the regional semifinals. For Tech, it has next year to look forward to.
"We have everyone back," Omensetter said. "So, it's two months off, then in January we get back to work."
Lakewood moves on to play host Baron Collier on Saturday in Naples.
CLEARWATER -- For Halloween, Clearwater wanted to be a potent machine. The Tornadoes didn't have to pretend.
Ranked No. 2 in Class 4A they steamrolled over Leto 15-1, 15-5 on their way to the Region 3 semifinals.
Junior Kelsey Baby led Clearwater with six kills on the night.
"We had a lot of people who played great," said first-year Tornado coach Lynn Hallmark. "We got a lot of people in the game that deserved to get some time. And they all came up with some big plays."
Hallmark and company are hoping to keep the regional championship, which they've won since 1995.
Kara Betroune served eight consecutive points down the stretch of the second game for Clearwater while Katy Barber registered five kills and one block for the match.
A young Leto team is left to look to the future.
"This is the first volleyball state playoff for our school, and we'll all look ahead to other seasons remembering this season," said Leto coach Derek Stewart.
"It's our first banner. If you look around the gym you'll see that Clearwater has been there, and that's why they won tonight. Experience."
Jocelyn Glinton and Jennifer Roberson each had three kills for the Falcons, who were plagued by unforced errors and the overpowering depth of the Tornado roster.
Clearwater moves on to play Lemon Bay on Saturday in the regional semifinals.
- Eric Muskatevc
TAMPA -- Seventh-grader Janet Okogbaa was surprised when she was asked to dress for Berkeley Prep's regional quarterfinal Tuesday against Frostproof.
She never expected to play.
But Berkeley Prep's starters blanked Frostproof 15-0 in the opening game, allowing head coach Randy Dagostino to put his reserves on the floor for the second.
Okogbaa, who normally plays in Berkeley Prep's middle school division, helped the second team to a 15-13 win.
"I don't think she had even the foggiest clue she was going to get into the match," Dagostino said.
Christine Gladyz had three kills and five service points.
Kayla Mora contributed five digs and four service points and Sarah Kirkwood added two kills, a block and two aces for Berkeley Prep in the first game.
Okogbaa had two kills and four service points, Aline Baker handed out eight assists and Suzanne Geer added six service points and two kills for the Buccaneers in the second game.
Three-time defending state champ Berkeley Prep (4-26) will play Sarasota Cardinal Mooney (28-3) in the regional semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Fort Myers Bishop Verot. Cardinal Mooney is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 3A.
- Frank Pastor
Academy of the Holy Names pulled out a 15-10, 15-2 victory over host Avon Park to advance to the semifinals. The Jaguars (13-18) will travel to play Fort Myers Bishop Verot, which beat DeSoto 15-8, 15-9. That game will be Saturday afternoon at 4.
A Jaguar win would set up a possible region final match-up with Berkeley Prep, which plays Cardinal Mooney.
That final game would take place at Bishop Verot at 7.
- Times staff