By Tamas Mondovics
With a 10-0 regular season record secured, the Bloomingdale Bulls volleyball team took on and defeated its district rival Wharton Wildcats with a final score of 3-2 during the 8A District 7 playoff championship and advanced to a promising post season success.
While the Bulls (National Rank 127, State (FL) Rank 5) deservedly entered the tournament at Alonso High School on solid ground with no conference losses, without missing a beat and as the predicted winner, the victory did not come easy.
In a head to head battle, the Wildcats kept the Bulls at bay and took the first two sets 25-22 and 25-18 respectively, giving the impression to steal Bloomingdale’s thunder of earning the district title.
But for an experienced team like the Bulls who have seen their share of setbacks, the game was hardly over.
The third set ended for the Bulls with a 25-19 first set win of night, followed by Bloomingdale taking the fourth 25-22, tying the match at 2-2.
In the fifth and final set, Bloomingdale secured its championship victory 15-13.
For the Bulls, with nine seniors taking the lead, the playoff drama was by no means their first rodeo.
However, for the team’s Head Coach Claudia Cabrera, 23 and a USF graduate, it was a nice way to start a head coaching career.
“I am very proud of the girls for working so hard all season,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera emphasized that while the team has the necessary individual talent, more was needed.
Building on the previous year’s ups and downs, Cabrera said she worked with the girls to learn to recover from losses and take each game one step at a time.
“We have a great senior lineup, strong leadership, great chemistry and the desire to win the title and go as far as possible post season,” she said, adding that the team has been motivated by a Kenneth Blanchard phrase printed on their practice T-shirts, which reads, “When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”
While the program’s success is and has always been a team effort, Bulls seniors Karissa Rhoades and Kaitlyn Grice are but just two on the list of great players that led this year’s team on its way to make headlines.
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