By Sean Bowes
Given the fact that Wiregrass Ranch High (WRH) and Wesley Chapel High (WCH), the only two high schools in Wesley Chapel, have such a close proximity to each other (around 8 miles), one may think that their volleyball teams would have a bigger rivalry than they actually do.
But, on October 13 at Wesley Chapel High, the match between the Lady Bulls, who are ranked #322 in Florida and Wildcats, ranked 403rd, had no ugly words or fights or blood shed; instead it was just a competitive game of volleyball between two groups of girls, many of whom are friends off the court, as well. In the end, it was teamwork that led WRH to the 3-2 victory over WCH.
“We play great together,” WRH Mindy Kantor said. “Everyone does their part even though we’re a very young team.”
Out of the ten players on WRH’s varsity team, 7 of them are sophomores. The team also has struggled since an upsetting injury earlier this season when Brittany Jack, a prominent center for the Bulls, tore her ACL and meniscus. Kantor said she is looking forward to the upcoming seasons as her young team gets some much-needed experience this year.
WRH, who play in Class 7A, District 9, are 12-11 this season (2-2 in their district) while the Wildcats, of District 5A-8, are 4-11 (2-4 in their district).
WRH is led by center Tori Quaglai, who leads the team in kills with 128, outside hitters Teddi Wright (who has 323 assists) and Grace Olsen (318 digs) and middle hitter Kaitlyn Diehl (56 kills).
The Wildcats started off solid, with some great spikes by senior center Sakari Worrels, who fires impressive “laser beams” when she makes contact with the ball. Unfortunately, Worrels’ power wasn’t enough to tame the Bulls, and despite a strong start, the Wildcats fell apart towards the end of the match.
“I’m very proud of all the girls,” said WCH coach Shana Sanders. “But we’ve had a rocky season, and have had trouble pulling together to play as a team.”