WINTER PARK, FLORIDA – As the Hagerty High volleyball team stunned Winter Park in the Class 7A regional final last Saturday, star outside hitter Brooke Stephens was smiling but visibly shaking as she talked about her team’s victory.
That was just how determined and relaxed she and the rest of her teammates were after defeating Winter Park in five sets, a win that advanced the Huskies (20-8) to the regional final on Wednesday, Nov. 2 against district rival Seminole . Lake Brantley (23-6).
Winter Park (21-8) entered the regional playoffs as No. 9 in Florida and No. 3 in Class 7A, but lost to Hagerty twice in nine days, including the District 4 championship. Hagerty is one of 11 Central Florida schools, which will play in the regional finals this week, with the winners advancing to the state semifinal games.
“I had so much fight in me because we had beaten them before,” Stephens said. “It’s hard to beat a team twice, it really is, because now they know your tactics.
“We had to change the rotation a few times and get the defense involved,” Stephens said. “I’m so glad we were able to come back and beat them.
Despite only having four seniors on their roster, Hagerty now finds itself three wins away from its second state championship since 2019. The Huskies opened last week with a 3-0 win against St. Johns Bartram Trail in the quarterfinals.
The win against Winter Park was Hagerty’s fifth in a row, but it didn’t come easy. The Wildcats battled valiantly behind great play from 6-foot-2 junior forward Fallon Stewart, one of the top players in the country, Emily Forness and Kindell Welker.
“Winter Park is such a good team,” Hagerty coach Juanita Hitt said. “My team pushed through and pulled it off at the end
We were up several times. We haven’t finished. But they came back and came back and finished and fought hard.”
The 2022 season was a banner year for Central Florida, especially in the larger classes (7A, 6A and 5A). A whopping eight schools are in the regional finals, including Hagerty and Lake Brantley.
Top-seeded Lake Brantley had to battle DeLand in five sets in its regional semifinal last Saturday, giving the Patriots a spot in the regional final for the third straight season. Sam Bowron and Sarah Gooch lead Lake Brantley.
In two other Class 7A regional semifinals, Kissimmee defeated Osceola 3-2 over Jupiter; andWindermere defeated Dr. Phillips 3-2. Osceola, seeded No. 1 in its region and led by freshman Cate Palmi, senior middle blocker Ahnika Johnston and senior libero Eimy Negron, will face Windermere in the Nov. 2 regional final. Windermere finished as the state runner-up last season.
In Class 6A, third-seeded Oviedo swept second-seeded Horizon 3-0 in its region to advance to play top-seeded Viera on Nov. 2. Viera advanced to the Class 6A state semifinals last year.
“I’m very proud of my girls in our win,” Oviedo coach Jen Darty said. “It was a total team effort against a tough Horizon team. We stayed focused and determined the whole way and fought for every point.”
Statistically for the Lions, Olivia Klimis had eight kills, five aces and 15 assists; Paige Wisneski, nine kills, 25 assists and 10 digs; Anna Cathcart, 10 kills; Kylie O’Brien, nine kills; and Lily Cammack, 10 digs.
Oviedo advanced to the regional semifinals with a 3-0 victory against Lyman in the quarterfinals. Leading the Lions there were Cathcart, 13 kills; O’Brien, 11 kills; Wisneski, 20 assists; Klimis, 13 assists; Cammack, 12 digs; and Jamie Kapoor, six blocks.
“I was very proud of our team’s performance against Lyman,” Darty said. “We are showing great growth and continue to take steps in the right direction.”
Top-seeded New Smyna Beach (22-2) also advanced and will play Gulf Breeze in the Class 6A regional final. The Barracudas have won 15 straight games.
New Smyrna Beach is led by senior hitter Jaylynn Brown, junior setter Alyssa Kornegay, senior middle blocker Hannah Zona and junior libero Ivy Westfall.
In Class 5A, state runner-up Merritt Island defeated Lecanto and Cypress Creek (Wesley Chapel) by a score of 3-1 to advance to the regional final against Wesley Chapel.
Small-class schools (4A, 3A, 2A and 1A) will play in the regional finals on Tuesday, November 1. In Class 4A, Bishop Moore (20-7) topped Lake Placid and Lakeland’s McKeel Academy to earn a spot in the regional final. against top-seeded Alachua Santa Fe. The Hornets advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals last season.
Bishop Moore’s leaders this year were Emily Schellenberg, Sophia Iglesias and Jaide Wirth.
Next up was Lake Highland Prep, which advanced to the Class 3A regional finals after sweeping Windermere Prep and West Palm Beach King’s Academy. The Highlanders will host Boca Raton Saint Andrew’s.
In Class 2A, Orangewood Christian once again advanced to the regional finals and will play Ocala St. John Lutheran. OCS advanced to the national semi-finals last year.
Central Florida High School Volleyball
(Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole, Volusia, Brevard, Indian River)
FHSAA Regional Finals
Tuesday, November 1
Bishop Moore in Alachua Santa Fe
Boca Raton Saint Andrew’s at Lake Highland Prep
Ocala St. John Lutheran at Orangewood Christian
Wednesday, November 2
Hagerty at Brantley Lake
Windermere at Kissimmee Osceola
Gulf Breeze at New Smyrna Beach
Oviedo near Viera
Merritt Island at Wesley Chapel
FHSAA Volleyball Results
Regional quarter finals
Tuesday, October 25
Alachua Santa Fe beat Space Coast 3-0
Astronaut (Titusville) defeated The Villages Charter 3-1
Bishop Moore defeated Lake Placid 3-0
Deltona Trinity Christian Academy defeated Tallahassee Maclay 3-0
Trinity Prep defeated Jacksonville Providence School 3-0
Boca Raton St. Andrew’s defeated Montverde Academy 3-0
Lake Highland Prep defeated Windermere Prep 3-0
West Palm Beach-King’s Academy defeated Holy Trinity Episcopal (Melbourne), 3-1
Orangewood Christian School defeated Orlando Christian Prep 3-0
Geneva School defeated Lake Mary Prep 3-0
Ocala St. John Lutheran defeated Vero Beach-St. Edward’s, 3-0
Brevard HEAT (Palm Bay) beat Faith Christian 3-0
Wednesday, October 26
Lake Brantley defeated Lake Mary, 3-0
DeLand beat Timber Creek 3-1
Winter Park beat St. Johns Creekside 3-0
Hagerty beat St. Johns Bartram Trail 3-0
Kissimmee Osceola defeated Wellington 3-0
Windermere beat Olympia 3-2
Dr. Phillips beat Lake Nona 3-1
New Smyrna Beach beat Niceville 3-0
Viera beat South Lake 3-0
Lakeland beat Winter Springs 3-2
Horizon beat Stuart South Fork 3-1
Oviedo beat Lyman 3-0
Tallahassee Lincoln defeated Daytona Beach Seabreeze 3-1
Tavares beat Deltona Pine Ridge 3-0
Merritt Island beat Lecanto 3-1
Friday, October 28
Alachua Santa Fe defeated Astronaut (Tituville), 3-0
Bishop Moore defeated Lakeland-McKeel Academy 3-0
Jacksonville Trinity Christian Academy defeated Trinity Prep 3-1
Lake Highland Prep defeated West Palm Beach King’s Academy 3-0
Orangewood Christian beat Geneva 3-0
Ocala St. John Lutheran beat the Brevard HEAT (Palm Bay) 3-0
Saturday, October 29
Lake Brantley defeated DeLand, 3-2
Hagerty defeated Winter Park, 3-2
Kissimmee Osceola defeated Jupiter 3-2
Windermere defeated Dr. Phillips 3-2
New Smyrna Beach beat Ponte Vedra 3-2
Viera beat Lakeland 3-1
Oviedo beat Horizon 3-0
Wesley Chapel beat Tavares 3-0
Merritt Island defeated Cypress Creek (Wesley Chapel), 3-1