SPONGERS 3 TRITONS 0

TARPON SPRINGS – The Spongers will make their third straight trip to the Class 6A region semifinals after Wednesday night’s 3-0 sweep of Cape Coral Mariner.

The evening belonged to Tarpon Springs, but the Spongers needed a little early boost to being taking control. Coach Patrick Sneed called a time out with the first set tied 8-8.

“He basically gave us the start of saying, this is terrible,” said senior Mackenzie Dufresne. “You know you can play better than this. You’re going to go out there and change it. Get a first-ball kill, which we like to call an FBK. Brenna went out there and just slammed it and that started it up for the rest of the night.”

That aforementioned kill from sophomore Brenna Reinhard was the first of six straight points and the Spongers outscored Mariner 17-1 the rest of the way to take the set 25-9.

“Brenna got the one big kill,” Sneed said. “When she hit that it was like, all right, game on. Then everyone got kind of pumped up from that.”

The next two games ended 25-12 and 25-11, respectively, and set up a third straight region semifinal matchup against Naples Lely. Tarpon Springs swept Lely last year but lost in 2016 after taking the first two sets.

In addition to another strong night attacking at the net, the Spongers’ service game racked up 16 aces and set the tone throughout.

“One of our biggest things at practice that we do for almost a half hour is we zone serve again and again,” Dufresne said. “At the beginning of the season that’s where we saw our struggle was.”

Senior Anya Reinhard led the Spongers with nine kills, followed by Brenna Reinhard’s eight and six each from Dufresne and Gabby Kennedy.

Tarpon Springs (22-6) will travel to Naples Lely (16-7) for Tuesday’s Class 6A region semifinal. The winner of that match will take on either Robinson or Sebring. That semifinal is also a rematch from last year, won 3-0 by Robinson.

The Spongers would either travel to Robinson or host Sebring. Tarpon Springs fell 3-0 at Robinson in last year’s region final.

BOX SCORE:

M - 9 – 12 – 11 --- 0

TS - 25 – 25 – 25 --- 3