Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Broncos Get a Test Monday

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Broncos Get a Test Monday

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephen Kindland, Clay County Line sports writer

Middleburg High School's volleyball team -- one of five unbeaten schools in Clay County -- gets its first big test Monday when the Broncos play the team they beat in last year's regional final.

Middleburg has taken three-game sweeps in three of its four regular-season matches so far, including a 25-13, 25-12, 25-12 walk over Fleming Island in one of several local matches played Tuesday.

But a victory won't be that easy Monday when the Broncos play host to Menendez at 6 p.m.

Menendez beat Middleburg twice in the regular season last year, but fell to the Broncos in four games in the Region 2-4A title match, just two hours after Middleburg had knocked off unbeaten Sebastian River in a semifinal.

Middleburg head coach Carrie Prewitt says she's "feeling good" about this year's team, which features Division I prospect Stephanie Bradley (middle hitter) and seniors Kavie Sturch (outside hitter) and Brette Peeples (defender/outside hitter).

Prewitt said a couple of pleasant surprises have emerged since the season began, including Leigha Hicks, a freshman defender, and Monique Crehore, a senior hitter who transferred to Middleburg from Orange Park.

"Her serve can be very effective," Prewitt said of Hicks. "She's also a back-up setter, which is really important."

Crehore also has stepped up her game, and is helping to fill an offensive void created when junior Sarah Williams left the team before the season began.

Others players, including Natalie Wearstler, Jordan Gibson and Amanda Youell, are playing as expected, Prewitt said.

And that could be bad news for Menendez.

"I'm feeling good about the way the kids are playing," Prewitt said.

Bradley, who is being scouted by several top colleges, led Tuesday's win over Fleming Island with 13 kills and seven aces. Youell finished with a match-high 25 assists, and Sturch had a match-high 10 serves.

In other games Tuesday, Orange Park got its first win of the season by knocking off Baker County in three sets, and Clay, Keystone Heights, Ridgeview and Orange Park Christian Academy all remained unbeaten. …

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