Seabreeze played FPC in a close contest on Aug. 22.
You would expect a young team, faced with the challenge of upending a senior-laden squad, would go down easy in the face of experience. It certainly appeared that way when Seabreeze’s girls volleyball team, which has only three seniors on the roster, was down early to the Bulldogs in the Sandcrabs’ second match of the season.
The Sandcrabs lost the opening set 25-11 on the night of Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
Even after narrowly escaping the second set with a 27-25 win, thanks in part to several errors by the Bulldogs late in the frame, the Sandcrabs found themselves in a familiar position midway through the third set: down double digits.
Poor serves, missed digs and mishandled spikes.
The errors compiled on the Sandcrabs in that set, ultimately giving the Bulldogs a 19-8 lead.
But despite the Sandcrabs’ youth, head coach Tarisa Craig-Craggy, now in her 13th season, said one things in particular stands out about this team.
“This team has a lot more fight than last year’s team,” she said.
The Sandcrabs almost won the third set. They rallied to tie the game at 25, took a brief 1-point lead and, ultimately, lost 28-26.
They were finished off in another close contest, 25-21 in the fourth.
When asked to describe the attitude of the team, sophomore hitter Madison Long, who slammed down a game-high 12 kills against the Bulldogs, characterized the Sandcrabs as “definitely resilient — and scrappy.”
“I definitely think we can win when we play this team again,” she added.
Long is one of four underclassmen who fill out the remainder of the starting lineup. In addition, none of the three seniors on the team play in the front row, so they’re never all in the game at the same time.
Although Craig-Craggy said this year’s team has more grit than in 2017, she’s not ready to characterize this year’s team as better.
“But the potential is greater,” she said.
Craig-Craggy added: “The fact that we’re fighting with these teams that have a lot of upperclassmen shows that we’re going to be there at the end of the year. We just need to learn how to finish, and that’s something that comes with experience.”