ORANGE PARK – Ridgeview High’s volleyball had to reach into the history of the recent success of the program and pull out a hard-fought 3-2 region quarterfinal win over Stanton Prep Wednesday …
ORANGE PARK – Ridgeview High’s volleyball had to reach into the history of the recent success of the program and pull out a hard-fought 3-2 region quarterfinal win over Stanton Prep Wednesday night at Ridgeview High School.
In region 1-7A, Middleburg High ended their season with a 3-0 playoff loss to Ocala Vanguard (16-4) also on Wednesday. Junior Mallory Roney led Middleburg with 10 scoring kills. Game scores were 25-13, 25-10 and 25-21.
The Panthers, three time district 4-6A champions and with three consecutive region quarterfinal wins, now must travel to powerhouse Bishop Kenny (16-12 overall) for a third consecutive region semifinal game. Bishop Kenny defeated Ridgeview last year in three games to advance to the state semifinal where they were beat by 6A runnerup Ponte Vedra High School. Bishop Moore beat Ponte Vedra for the 6A title.
“We’ve done this three years in a row and we know what that environment is going to be like,” said Ridgeview coach Destiny Brightman. “We struggled a bit on the outside trying to set the middles tonight, but we dug in and found a way to win the final game and match.”
Ridgeview opened the playoff match by storming to a quick 25-18 first game win behind strong play at the net from right side hitter Saige Rivers who was dominant at the net with blocks and kills keeping the taller Stanton Prep net off balance. Rivers finished with 12 scoring kills for the game with junior Jonae Sanders tops for the night with 17 scores.
“She is such an athlete and can get up fast and tall to make the opposite players think twice about challenging her,” said Brightman. “We have always had good blockers up from with Jonae (Sanders, five blocks) and Aniya (Marshall, nine blocks) and now Saige (Rivers, seven blocks), who is a little taller, adding the offensive element to the mix.”
Ridgeview continued to play spirited ball Stanton attempting to get an edge at the net with quick moving strikes over the top, but the Panthers prevailed 25-23 in game two.
Game three saw the Panthers slip a bit on defense with Stanton storming back from a 17-10 deficit to force a 24-24 tie at game’s end and force extra points to the finish. Both teams were flying on defense, but Stanton got ahead off Panther errors and won 28-26 to force extra games.
“I told them we wanted to get out of the gym in three, but Stanton was tough tonight,” said Brightman. “We can’t make the mistakes we made and beat Bishop Kenny.”
Stanton continued with their play into the fourth game and took a 25-23 win to put the Panthers hopes on the line.
In the final game, Ridgeview blitzed to an early 11-5 lead, but let Stanton get to 11-11 before pulling away for the 15-13 win.