The Evangelical Christian School volleyball team flirted with danger on Saturday afternoon in its Region 3A-3 semifinal match but still came out on top.
The Sentinels topped visiting Community School of Naples 3-2 (25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 19-25, 15-11) after seeing a 2-0 lead vanish in front of a loud and energetic crowd at ECS.
The teams were tied at nine apiece in the decisive fifth game before the Sentinels won six of the next eight points to close out the match.
The victory earns the Sentinels a berth in the Region 3A-3 championship match against Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy. The match will be played at Westminster on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“A lot in this game depends on where you fall on the line of momentum,” ECS coach Theresa Kabel said. “That’s what makes this sport so awesome. Our fans did an awesome job supporting us.”
The Sentinels (24-5) claimed a close 25-23 win in game one after winning the final points of the game when it was tied at 23 apiece. ECS then pushed its lead to 2-0 with a 25-20 victory in the second game after Community School of Naples (19-8) made four key service errors in the final half of the game.
CSN then made things very interesting however thanks in large part to the play of junior twin sisters Gabrielle Moriconi and Camberly Moriconi. Their presence hitting and blocking swung the momentum back in favor of the Seahawks as the visitors claimed game three 25-22 and game four 25-19.
“They are dynamites,” CSN coach Toni Rhodes said of the Moriconi sisters. “They add power everywhere. They gave it all they had (on Saturday).”
ECS raced out to a 6-3 lead in the fifth game and eventually extended that advantage to 9-5. The Seahawks came right back yet again however and won the next four points which prompted a Sentinel timeout.
ECS then won four of its next six points thanks to kills from Caroline Forster and celebrated its sixth consecutive trip to a region championship game.
“The seniors have a lot to do with that,” Kabel said. “Our team respects our seniors and they all play hard for each other. The competition is only going to get tougher. We need to concentrate on playing three straight tough games and not letting games three and four go to waste like we did.”
Forster and Emily Moore each had 15 kills for the Sentinels. Amber Dudek registered 30 digs and Lily Tessier had 35 assists for ECS.