Posted: 4:43 pm Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
By Jeff Greer
KISSIMMEE — Sometime around 1 p.m., everything changed at Silver Spurs Arena.
In the same vein of Boca’s ferocious comeback in the Class 8A state semifinals last night, Jensen Beach (25-5) channeled its energy into a spirited rally that turned a 2-sets-to-none deficit into a thrilling five-set win. The Falcons topped St. Johns-Bartram Trail 23-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-13, 15-11 in the Class 5A state semifinals, and will play for the state championship at 8 p.m. Thursday night here in Kissimmee. They’ll play Merritt Island, a team with which Jensen has a bit of history.
“After we lost that second set, we were honestly like, ‘We’re going home today,’” junior Meghan Conway said.
But, Jensen Beach coach Mike Sawtelle said, the Falcons’ attitude shifted midway through the third set, as it faced an 18-15 deficit. Eight consecutive points later, Jensen Beach was in control and Bartram Trail was flabbergasted.
Jensen Beach dominated from there, and coasted to a win. The experience of last year’s state semifinal loss to Merritt Island played a huge factor in Jensen Beach’s response this fall, Sawtelle said, as did the Falcons’ tough fall schedule.
“When we lost in five last year, we were kind of angry about it,” Sawtelle said. “We didn’t feel that we played our best game. We’ve gone to five sets several times this year. It was nothing new to them. We said, ‘We can win this in five. We have to win the first one first.’”
Meghan Conway did everything for Jensen Beach, posting 26 kills and 11 digs. Her furious kills helped set the tone for Jensen’s comeback, both mentally and physically.
“It’s attitude,” Sawtelle said. “(Meghan) wants the ball. If she gets it, she knows she’s gonna make the play. It’s great to have someone like that on your team. It helps in a game at this level.”
She wasn’t the only one with gaudy numbers. Setter Kendall Bradley tallied 40 assists and 20 digs; Evin Foster totaled 18 kills, 14 assists and eight digs; and Brooke Fasciana came up with 24 digs.
Now Jensen Beach turns its attention to the state final, when Sawtelle’s crew will get a shot at repeating its 2009 success.
“I’m just hoping I’m not in the press conference room crying like I was last year,” Conway said.