Venice won its 14th straight district volleyball title with a 3-1 victory against Sarasota in the District 7A-11 championship game at Venice High School on Thursday.
The teams traded the first two sets with Venice winning the first 25-17 and Sarasota taking the second 25-21.
Indians head coach Brian Wheatley said that re-taking control of the match was just a matter of cleaning things up in the third set. Venice opened with a 12-1 run sparked by a series of blocks and kills by middle hitter Kelly Tignor. They cruised to a 25-9 win thanks in large part to the dominant play of outside hitters Hannah Richards and Tanner Gauthier.
The Indians appeared to be sailing toward an easy win to put the match away before a 6-0 run by Sarasota late within the set. The Lady Sailors got within one before a kill by Kelly Hubbard sealed the district title for Venice with a 25-23 win.
Richards finished with a career-high 27 kills, followed by Gauthier with 12.
Venice, now 18-8 on the year, will host Riverdale in a regional quarterfinal game at Venice High School.
Indians cross country teams advance: Venice’s boys and girls advanced to next week’s regional meet in Lakeland after placing in the top five in Thursday’s District 3A-10 meet at Eagle Lake Park in Largo.
Ireland MacDonell finished fifth in the girls event with a personal-best time of 20 minutes, 23 seconds. The Indians finished fourth in the 11-team field.
Jake Ireland was the top finisher for the boys (18th, 17:54) . Teammate Josh Lawson finished directly behind Ireland in 19th. Four of the seven runners set season-best times in helping the Indians to a fifth-place finish.