Posted: 4:49 pm Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Spanish River girls’ volleyball return to familiar position in regionals 

By Jeff Greer

Spanish River girls’ volleyball coach Karen Adams wants to make one thing clear: The Sharks’ 14-13 record isn’t exactly a fair representation of her team.

“We didn’t have four or five of our key players at (early-season tournaments),” Adams said. “I mean, eight of those losses came at those tournaments.”

Now that Spanish River has returned to full health and power, Adams said her team is where it should be: in the regional quarterfinals. The Sharks host Davie-Nova on Wednesday in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals at 6 p.m.

The Sharks won the District 15-5A title on Thursday, rallying past then-No. 3 Wellington in five sets. It was the second time Spanish River bested Wellington this season, but it took a special effort to repeat the task. Wellington led Spanish River 2-1 through three sets and held a 14-7 lead in the fourth set before Spanish River stormed back.

“We just called a timeout and pulled everyone aside and got refocused,” middle blocker and captain Olivia Messner said. “We were really excited to be playing them again and I think we got a little big-headed after we beat them the first time.”

In a way, the comeback embodied the season-long rally that has taken Spanish River from a rough start to a fast finish and has the Sharks feeling confident. Now they get a home match in the regional quarterfinals, something they’re used to.

Spanish River beat Davie-Nova in straight sets last year in the regional quarters.

While the returning players from that Spanish River team don’t remember a lot from that match — “It’s a long season. Matches tend to run together,” Adams joked — they do recall the experience of playing in the regionals. Adams hopes that her squad will use that memory to its advantage.

“They know that they need to just approach it like any other match,” Adams said.

With a full cast back and excited to start the regionals, this Spanish River far better represents what Adams thinks of her team. On Wednesday night at 6 p.m., they get to put that confidence to the test.

“We’re cleaning up the little things and working on consistency,” Adams said. “We’ve had a few days to practice and prepare. We had a fun Halloween-themed practice on Friday, and now we’re ready to go and play.”