Bradford, Union County complete semis sweeps

Bell's Sydney Waddle with a hit against Union County on Tuesday.
Bell's Sydney Waddle with a hit against Union County on Tuesday. (Photo by C.J. Gish)

The top two seeds swept through their opponents on Tuesday in the Class 1A-District 6 semifinals at Bell High School.

Top-seeded Branford defeated No. 5 seed Lafayette (Mayo), 25-21, 25-21, 25-14, and No. 2 seed Union County (Lake Butler) got past No. 3 seed Bell, 25-15, 25-20, 25-20. The winners will face each other in the championship match at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Branford's Jadyn Mosley with a hit against Lafayette on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Branford’s Jadyn Mosley with a hit against Lafayette on Tuesday.

In the opening match, Lafayette (9-17) – who had been swept by the Buccaneers (19-5) at home on Aug. 25 and then at Branford on Sept. 27 – gave the No. 6 team in Class 1A all it could handle.

The scrappy Hornets jumped to a 5-2 lead capitalizing on three Branford hitting errors. The Bucs used a mid-set run – keyed by Erika Rioux’s four service aces – to go up 15-9.

Lafayette wouldn’t go away easily and went on a 12-1 run to pull ahead, 21-16. Then Branford turned a switch, paced by outside hitter Madison Ward. Ward had four kills in the final five points, including the game winner.  

“Our right side Madison Ward is a crucial player and any time she’s at the net she brings a lot of energy to the game and every time she got in, we started doing what we were supposed to, but when she’d come out, we’d sink again,” said Branford coach Mendy Sikes. “So, we’ve got to work on that. She’s a powerful hitter.”

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In the second set, Lafayette went ahead 19-18 before Branford picked up points from a Ward kill, an Andi Sabourin service ace and two Kennedy Walker tips with the Hornets hitting out of bounds on game point.

“The sway of the game kind of determines how well we can swing, and our defense was kind of off,” Sikes said. “We did change our rotation, so we’re kind of getting used to it a little bit. We still have two injured. For the most part, we pulled it out, and now we’ll focus on Thursday.”

Branford never trailed in the final set which was highlighted by three Jadyn Mosley service aces and multiple kills from Ward, Mosely and Kayley Johnson.

“They all contributed in a big way,” said Sikes. “We just need everybody on on Thursday.”

Union County (17-7) faced Bell (14-11) in the second semifinal match, pitting the two teams against each other for the third time this season. The Tigers won 3-2 at Lake Butler on Sept. 1 and 3-1 in Bell on Sept. 26.

“We played against them and won in five and we won in four,” said Union County coach Tifani Knox. “It’s sometimes tough to beat a team three times and they’re a good team, so we were hoping we could come in and focus. I knew if we played our game that we would be OK and we did.”

Union County's Jaycee Davis with a hit against Bell on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Union County’s Jaycee Davis with a hit against Bell on Tuesday.

The visiting Tigers took command in the opening set. Back-to-back Jaycee Davis service aces put Union County ahead 8-4. Ahead 19-12, Davis added three kills – coupled with three Bell hitting errors – and a game-winning service ace to win the first set, 25-15.

In the second set, Bell jumped to leads of 5-1 and 17-12 before Union County rallied for a 13-3 run, keyed by multiple Davis, Jailyn Simmons and Emily Wilson kills, to win, 25-20.

For the Tigers, taking away Bell’s offensive strategy while taking advantage of the Bulldogs’ defense was key to the victory.

“I think us covering the tip,” Knox said. “They do a lot of tipping and us playing defense and covering that really, really helps us. And then they only had one block up on us on the outside and Jaycee was able to really swing away, so that really helped us a lot.”

The Tigers never trailed in the final set, capped by back-to-back Kamryn Southerland service aces and a match-winning Rylie Parrish kill.

“It was just one of those nights,” said Bell coach Drue Barry. “We didn’t hit, we didn’t make adjustments. We played them tight all year, but they played better than us tonight. We didn’t hit, it’s as simple as that. They had some holes, but we didn’t take advantage of it and they were the better team tonight. No ifs, ands or buts.”

Class 1A-District 6 – at Bell High School

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals)

No. 5 Lafayette (Mayo) 3, No. 4 Fort White 1

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 1 Branford 3, No. 5 Lafayette (Mayo) 0

No. 2 Union County (Lake Butler) 3, No. 3 Bell 0

Branford's Kennedy Walker with a hit against Lafayette on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Branford’s Kennedy Walker with a hit against Lafayette on Tuesday.

Thursday, Oct. 20 (Championship)

No. 1 Branford vs. No. 2 Union County (Lake Butler), 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 7 – at Trenton High School

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals)

No. 5 Trenton 3, No. 4 Cedar Key 0

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 2 Dixie County (Cross City) 3, No. 3 Chiefland 0

No. 1 Newberry 3, No. 5 Trenton 1

Thursday, Oct. 20 (Championship)

No. 1 Newberry vs. No. 2 Dixie County (Cross City), 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 8 – at Williston High School

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals)

No. 5 Bronson, 3, No. 4 Hawthorne 0

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 2 Glades Day (Belle Glade) 3, No. 3 Wildwood 0

No. 1 Williston 3, No. 5 Bronson 0

Thursday, Oct. 20 (Championship)

No. 1 Williston vs. No. 2 Glades Day (Belle Glade), 7 p.m.

Class 2A-District 4 – at Oak Hall School (Semifinals & championship)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Quarterfinals) – at Higher seed

No. 4 St. Francis Catholic Academy 3, No. 5 Florida School for the Deaf & Blind (St. Augustine) 0

No. 3 St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) 3, No. 6 Peniel Baptist Academy (Palatka) 0

Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Semifinals)

Branford's Madison Ward with a hit against Lafayette on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Branford’s Madison Ward with a hit against Lafayette on Tuesday.

No. 1 Oak Hall School vs. No. 4 St. Francis Catholic Academy, 5 p.m.

No. 2 Countryside Christian vs. No. 3 St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine), 7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 20 (Championship)

Oak Hall/St. Francis winner vs. Countryside Christian/St. Joseph winner, 6 p.m.

Class 3A-District 3 – at Palatka High School (Semifinals & Championship)

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals) – at Higher Seed

No. 5 Bradford (Starke) 3, No. 4 Taylor County (Perry) 0

No. 3 Crescent City 3, No. 6 Interlachen 0

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 5 Bradford (Starke) 3, No. 1 Palatka 0

No. 2 P.K. Yonge 3, No. 3 Crescent City 0

Thursday, Oct. 20 (Championship)

No. 2 P.K. Yonge vs. No. 5 Bradford (Starke), 7 p.m.

Class 4A-District 2 – at Higher Seed

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals)

No. 4 Godby (Tallahassee) 3, No. 5 Gadsden County (Havana) 0

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 2 Wakulla (Crawfordville) 3, No. 3 Suwannee (Live Oak) 0

Class 4A-District 4 – at Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville)

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals)

Bell's Jodi Waddle attempts to block Union County's Jailyn Simmons on Tuesday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Bell’s Jodi Waddle attempts to block Union County’s Jailyn Simmons on Tuesday.

No. 4 Keystone Heights 3, No. 5 Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine) 1

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 1 Bolles 3, No. 4 Keystone Heights 0

Class 4A-District 5 – at Santa Fe High School (Alachua)

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals)

No. 4 Dunnellon 3, No. 5 Eastside 1

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 2 North Marion (Citra) 3, No. 3 Crystal River 0

No. 1 Santa Fe (Alachua) 3, No. 4 Dunnellon 0

Thursday, Oct. 20 (Championship)

No. 2 North Marion (Citra) at No. 1 Santa Fe (Alachua), 7 p.m.

Class 5A-District 2 – at Lincoln (Tallahassee) (Semifinals & Championship)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 2 Vanguard (Ocala) 3, No. 3 Columbia (Lake City) 0

Class 6A-District 4 – at Higher Seed

Monday, Oct. 17 (Quarterfinals)

No. 4 Forest (Ocala) 3, No. 5 Matanzas (Palm Coast) 0

Tuesday, Oct. 18 (Semifinals)

No. 2 Gainesville 3, No. 3 Buchholz 0

No. 1 New Smyrna Beach 3, No. 4 Forest (Ocala) 0

Thursday, Oct. 20 (Championship)

No. 2 Gainesville at No. 1 New Smyrna Beach, 7 p.m.

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