The No. 4 seed Santa Fe College volleyball team advanced to the winners’ bracket of the FCSAA state volleyball tournament at Florida State College in Jacksonville with a 32-30, 25-20, 25-18 sweep of No. 5 seed Daytona State College.
But it wasn’t easy.
“When you get to this time of the season and you’re in playoff mode, every point is incredible intensity,” said Santa Fe College volleyball coach Nick Cheronis, who was the Mid-Florida Conference Coach of the Year. “It really doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net. Nobody wants to drop down in the losers’ bracket.”
That was clearly evident in a back-and-forth first set which Santa Fe rallied to win 32-30. It featured nine lead changes and 17 ties.
“I was more concerned with how much energy we had to use because if it was going to go five, who used the most energy in that first set?” Cheronis noted.
Daytona State College (15-7) was energized, jumping out to an 18-10 lead in the second set. It appeared the Falcons were going to even things at one game apiece.
However, the Saints (16-2) then went on a 15-2 run to take a 2-0 lead.
“Nobody wants to go home early,” Cheronis said. “Everybody practiced hard all spring to get to this point. It really boils down to who wants it more.”
Santa Fe used the momentum of the win in game two to a 25-18 win in the third set.
Katelyn Crofts, who played at The Rock School in Gainesville, finished the match with eight kills.
Up next is a match-up with the No. 1 team in the country. Miami Dade College (19-0) advanced by sweeping No. 8 seed Eastern Florida State College.
“It’s going to take us playing at our absolute best and they’re going to have to have some sort of off day and I don’t know if they’ve ever had that,” Cheronis said.
First serve for the Saints and the Sharks is at 1 p.m. on Friday.