Gainesville rallies to upset top-ranked Buchholz


Gainesville hitter Kelsey Watts spikes the ball past Buchholz defenders Julie Fuchs and Gaby Rubeis (2) on Tuesday.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 11:53 p.m.

Gainesville High coach Eddie Maynard has been tired of reading about P.K. Yonge and Buchholz volleyball in the local newspaper. He felt it was time to learn about another volleyball team.

His team.

The Hurricanes certainly made the city and surrounding areas take notice on Tuesday night.

Kelsey Watts had 14 kills, 17 service points, five aces and 12 digs, and Chancie Grant added 13 kills and five blocks as Gainesville stunned Class 7A No. 1 Buchholz in four sets — 16-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20 — before a vocal home crowd.

“That was all the motivation my girls needed,” Maynard said. “We gave the town something else to talk about in the sport of volleyball.”

Last Thursday, the Hurricanes were going toe-to-toe with the Class 6A No. 1 team and district rival Ocala Vanguard, pushing the Knights to a fifth and deciding set. But Maynard felt his team ran out of gas, falling 15-6 in the fifth.

“I made a couple of substitutions here and there to keep people fresh,” he said. “We knew we had to have it for the push. Especially after we tied it at 1-1, I knew it was going to go at least four. We kept people fresh and didn't run out of gas at the end this time.”

Gainesville (14-6) got outstanding play off the bench from sophomore Jennifer Rosado, who finished with six kills and three blocks.

“As a sophomore to have never really played in this sort of environment, to step up the way she did was incredible,” Maynard said. “That was her best performance of the season.”

After Buchholz (15-4) cruised in the first game, 25-16, GHS didn't back down in game 2, breaking from a 5-5 tie and going on a 10-5 run, getting an ace serve from Misha Patz for a 15-10 lead. Needing just one point for the game, the 'Canes saw a seven-point lead (24-17) dwindle to two (24-22) after consecutive aces from Olivia Reed of Buchholz. But a block from Rosado ended it for a 25-22 GHS win, tying the match at 1-1.

The 'Canes seized control early in game 3, breaking a 6-6 tie and taking a 14-9 lead after a Rosado kill. The Bobcats rallied, pulling to within one (21-20) after a Reed spike, and tying it at 23-all after another Reed kill. But GHS answered back and got a Buchholz error at the end for a 25-23 win, and a 2-1 lead in the match.

Caroline Redmond, who finished with 14 kills for Buchholz, had a string of five straight to pull the Bobcats to within two (15-13) in game four. But they could never grab the lead, pulling as close as 20-19, but Watts led GHS to victory, getting three kills in the final five points, including the match winner at 25-20.

“This means so much, we have been working so hard as a team,” Grant said. “We've been building on this for so long. This is a cross-town rivalry, and it feels so good to beat them.

“It is definitely a good win for us, and we are really happy and excited. But it is a building point for us that we look to carry on to districts and hopefully will see Vanguard again.”

Gaby Rubeis had 21 assists for Buchholz, and Julie Fuchs had six kills.

“We didn't get a good tempo on our side, and our offense was taken out,” said Bobcat first-year coach Justin Dee. “They did a good job of serving us tough, and we didn't pass well. And when we don't pass well, they are able to pick up who they want to block on. They did a good job of serving and blocking.

“Obviously, it concerns me if we lose. I give credit to GHS. They blocked very well, and Kelsey had a great night. Their fans were great and did a good job in pumping up their team. Where do we go from this? We can use this as a learning experience or something that kills our season. We just need to push ourselves a little more in practice.”

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