Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pirates' Big Rally Stuns Mustangs

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pirates' Big Rally Stuns Mustangs

Article excerpt


VOLLEYBALL: Braden River comes back from 2-0 deficit

Matt McElhiney did not know his Braden River High volleyball team could come back from a two-game deficit against Lakewood Ranch.

"But the message I had to send to them is we don't stop," the Pirates' second-year coach said. "It doesn't matter what the games are, we have to finish. My juniors and seniors were saying the same thing in the huddle. They are preaching we are not stopping no matter what. We just had to get some momentum."

"Coach gave us a pep talk. He told us we had to get our butts in gear," senior Demi-Shay Watchorn said. "We had to show we were better than this team. We had to show we wanted it more. Even underdogs can come back, and that's what we did."

In front of a near-packed Braden River gym, the home Pirates rallied to a 19-25, 16-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-12 victory over Lakewood Ranch, handing the Mustangs their first loss of the season.

"I'm glad we came back from that and show we can play with adversity," Watchorn said.

Braden River showed signs of rallying in the first two games before falling short. It wasn't until the Pirates matched the Mustangs' intensity on defense that they were able to turn it around.

"Lakewood Ranch played extremely good defense. They were just phenomenal defensively," McElhiney said. "Until we matched what they had, it wasn't going to work for us. That's what the difference was. We had some long rallies that we ended up winning that were momentum changers for us."

After getting even, the Pirates (5-2) received a huge lift from sophomore outside hitter Siena Kelley. Ill for the past two weeks and not in the starting lineup Tuesday, Kelley had four straight kills from the left side in Game 5 that helped Braden River open a 9- 6 lead.

"She really made a difference," McElhiney said. "She was attacking. The energy just changed on the team. …

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