Written and Photographed by Robert Gale
On October 5, 2017 at 6:00pm the St. Petersburg College Lady Titans volleyball team took the court to play against State College of Florida. The Titans are ranked 6th in the nation in the NJCAA and have a season of 10 wins to 1 loss. Manatee, however, has a season of 5 wins and 14 losses. With the odds against Manatee, the Titans have a very good chance to clutch another victory to make their season 11-1.
“Each night, almost each set, it seems a different player has a great game. The first set Michelle might be hot, scoring 8 kills. The next set might be Bea that is in fire, or Ana. Along with our middle, this makes for a very balanced offense, potentially difficult to play against. Volleyball is often a game of match-ups. With the depth this year, we have many options to turn some of these match-ups to our favor.” – Coach Scott White
Besides being another home game, the Student Government Association was hosting Hispanic Heritage Month in the gym with free food to all students. For a special guest appearance, SPC’s president, Dr. Tonjua Williams, was in attendance and greeted the Lady Titans at the end of the match.
Before the match, the ladies have a smile on their face. They were relaxed with no worries going into the match. However, it does not mean that all of the remaining games will be this way. There are still some heavy competitors waiting on the horizon.
“We are having a good year this season. My goal is to go to the nationals this year. We have a good team and the other girls are so close to each other. I hope we do really good today, go to the states, and then go to nationals. We train really hard everyday. This is what I expect.” – Ana Carolina de Almieda Costa #15
At the beginning of the first set, the Titans made the first points on Manatee. Costa, #15 had some powerful spikes in the opponent’s corner. This will later become a weakness for Manatee. However, Manatee does score some easy points on the Titans due to the Titan’s ability to get some elevation over the net. This causes the ball to bounce off the rim of the net and back into the Titan’s court. Half way through the first set, the Titans and the Manatees are only a few points away from each other with a score of Titans 15, Manatee 13. At the end of the set, the Titans won with a score of 25, Manatee 19.
At the beginning of the second set, the Titans still have a struggle of getting higher elevation over the net that causes the ball to bounce back into their court. This however does give Manatee a slight advantage that does plague the Titans. As the set continues, the Titans gain their composure and adjust their pitch to get the proper elevation. During the set, both teams have some good volleys back and forth. The key strategy for the Titans is the ability to strike the ball in the far corners while Manatee suffers with keeping its players in the center of the court. This flaw in Manatee’s strategy will haunt them in the second and third sets. At the end of the second set, the Titans have 25, Manatee 18.
In the third set, the Titans really come out strong with an impressive lead of 7 to Manatee’s 3. At this point, Manatee is showing its fatigue and is not able to return the ball effectively. A large contributor to the Titan’s success is their ability to communicate with each other on the court to where each person knows who will hit the ball. Manatee, however, does not communicate effectively among its players on who will hit the ball. At times they had two people on the ball and both either hit each other or both miss the ball completely. Also, the Titans organize in a more spread out patter that helps them to cover more area. At the end of the final set, the score is Titans 25 and Manatee 12.
Post game incites
“The team this year is composed of a host of very experienced players and they have an ability to play better longer then most of our competitors. If we can keep this quality, the girls will do well.” – Coach Scott White
As of October 5th, the Titans sit with a season of 11-1. Their last two remaining home games are on Oct. 19 vs Hillsborough Community College and on Oct. 24 vs Webber International which is their sophomore night. Depending on where they are placed in their conference, they have a very good shot of making the playoffs to quality for finals. Come out and support your Lady Titans!
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