On Thursday night, Santa Fe (Alachua) overpowered visiting Astronaut (Titusville) in the FHSAA Class 4A Region 2 semifinals.
The defending 4A state champion Raiders is one step closer to defending its title, quickly terminating the War Eagles, 25-16, 25-14, 25-12.
After eliminating No. 8 seed Space Coast in the 4A Region 2 quarterfinals on Tuesday, top-seeded Santa Fe (27-2) displayed true dominance in what can be considered an easy battle over the War Eagles (18-6).
“It was a quick turnaround from our last match,” said Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall. “We had a practice today, which is not normal, but I think it got the girls ready. We had them anticipating Friday, so I knew we had to touch the ball when we had to play Thursday due to football games. So right now, you know, to be honest, it’s late in the season and if we’re not ready, then we’re not ready. But that isn’t the case.
“I think we were a little flat tonight, so we need to focus and worry about doing this crisper moving forward.”
Santa Fe set the tone early, grabbing the first set of the match.
The War Eagles had the lead in the second set, 4-2, but quickly fell ill to monster kills from Jayln Stout (four kills) and Anisa Dorlouis (four kills). The War Eagles kept it close trailing the Radiers 11-9, before Sante Fe pushed the lead to 20-12 and giving the Raiders the momentum to clinch the set.
“Getting up 2-0 in a game is gigantic,” said Marshall. “It can be good or bad. They feel they’ll let loose and not worry about errors, but it takes a little pressure off us. So obviously, if I had my choice, two every time. The danger of that is letting up, but we have a grown-up group, and they don’t do that very much.”
The third set was more of the same as Santa Fe went ahead 12-5, highlighted by six Dorlouis kills. The foot didn’t come off the gas pedal as the Raiders pulled ahead 22-10 paced by Miya Thomas’ two service aces and two digs.
Stout finished with 16 kills, 12 assists, three digs, and three aces. Thomas added 17 digs, 12 assists, and two aces. Dorlouis had 14 kills, 11 assists and 10 digs.
“We are just trying to stay focused,” said Stout after the game. “We are taking every game and set one step at a time, staying together, being loud, keep up our energy. We are really staying focused all together.”
Santa Fe will play the winner of No. 2 seed Bishop Moore and No. 3 seed McKeel Academy, who play each other Friday, in the regional final match at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.