The Purple Palace was rocking on Thursday night for an Alachua County volleyball showdown between host Gainesville and Santa Fe.
The visiting Raiders won the opening game and set the tone early en route to a sweep of the host Hurricanes 25-19, 25-20, 27-25.
“For who we were playing, which is extremely big and athletic, GHS, I thought we played extremely well,” said Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall. “I thought they (GHS) played really well.”
Santa Fe (11-2), which is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 4A and 5th overall in Florida by MaxPreps, built a 17-12 lead in the second set following a kill by senior Rylie Tam.
However, the Class 6A Hurricanes (4-3) rallied to tie it at 17-17 on a kill by sophomore Meme Davis (team-high 11 kills). GHS then took an 18-17 lead following a block at the net by sophomore Charlotte Gravlee.
“Our goal was to play together regardless of the score, and I think my girls fulfilled that tremendously,” said Gainesville coach Chancie Vice. “We have the most selfless set of girls on this team. When they fight, they fight for each other and that’s something that is irreplaceable.”
Tam had a kill and an ace to help Santa Fe extend the lead to 21-18 and junior Jalyn Stout’s kill put them at set point. A deflection out of bounds gave the Raiders a 25-20 win in the second set.
“We pushed them really hard in the second,” Marshall said. “I thought we were going to pull away and then immediately they made a 5-point run to get right back in the game so it kinds of shows you what they can do.”
Stout was recognized as the Sonic Drive-In Player of the Game after her performance.
“There was a lot of build up for this game,” Stout said. “Both of the student sections were crazy. There was a lot of tension and it just feels good to come out on top.”
The junior finished with 16 kills, 11 digs, and 11 assists.
“I thought she struggled in the first game,” Marshall said. “I pulled her to the side, and I told her ‘you’ve just got to be an athlete. You’re worried too much about making it perfect,’ and from the second one on she played like an athlete and her level went sky high.”
Santa Fe, which will host Vanguard (Ocala) on Wednesday, rallied down 18-15 in the third set and they trailed 24-23 before Tam and Stout put them up 25-24 with back-to-back kills.
GHS setters Chloe Petrik and Rylan Hauptman each had 14 assists, and senior Nicole Brandt added two aces and 19 digs for the Hurricanes, who will travel to Jacksonville this weekend for the River City Classic.
Riley added 19 kills and 12 digs, and junior Anisa Dorlouis added 17 assists for the Raiders, who will host Gainesville on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
“It’s going to be the same match,” Marshall said. “You’ll want to see it again in our gym. Same intensity, same kind of volleyball. I think Booklyn (Tealer of GHS) might be back then so they’re going to add one of the best outside hitters in the state of Florida.”