The Academy varsity volleyball team began the 2012 season with a bang. On Saturday August 25, the Jaguars competed in a pre-season tournament at Tampa Prep. Their opponents included Robinson and Plant.
The following weekend, Academy began their actual season with a match against Shorecrest Prep. Somewhat over-confident from their previous victories, the Jags struggled throughout the first two games, losing the first 19-25 and winning the second just barely 25-23. They quickly recovered finishing the sets 25-10 and 25-19.
The Jags continued their success against Booker High School on Wednesday night, September 5. The team ran many quick plays and finished the match winning 25-6, 25-8, and 25-9.
“We aspired to play at our highest level regardless of our opponent and work hard to execute our plays,” said junior captain Jennifer Aprile, describing the team goals going into this tournament. Although the Jags started out a bit slow, losing the first game, they stepped up the intensity and finished the match winning three out of four games. This win against Robinson built much-needed momentum to take on long time South Tampa rival, Plant High School.
After an upset for the Jaguars during last year’s match versus Plant, the girls were ready to finally take over the reigns as the dominant South Tampa team. The match started out a little shaky but the Jags were able to pull through and defeat the Panthers. This long awaited victory for Academy played out in a nail-biting set of four games. “We played well together and the rest of it all clicked. We were very determined to beat Plant,” explained senior captain Chandler Cartwright.
A huge factor in the success of the Jags is the new head coach Jeff Davis. Davis focuses on encouraging the girls to work hard in practices, games, and even when stretching. The quote on the back of the Jaguar’s practice shirt lets others know what they are all about: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
The success during the first appearances of the Jaguars for the 2012 season sets a precedent for the rest of the season. Some of their toughest opponents, Berkeley, Tampa Prep, and Tampa Catholic, will be given a run for their money with this season’s hard-working and talented team.