Santa Fe sweeps Newberry to open volleyball season

Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 10:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 10:55 p.m.

ALACHUA — After years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Miami Sunset, and then at Santa Fe, Paqui Peon had his first test as the Raiders' head volleyball coach Wednesday against area rival Newberry.

Dominating in its first two games, Santa Fe pulled out a 3-0 sweep of the Panthers — 25-14, 25-10, 25-23 — in its season opener before a near-capacity crowd at the Raiders' gym.

Two of the area's top players led the way for Santa Fe in senior Whitney Drost, who had a game-high 14 kills and junior Meagan Irish, who delivered eight aces. Senior Kathryn Forrester, who returned from a season at St. Francis, added eight kills.

“We played well,” Peon said. “Despite having so many returning starters, it is still a relatively new lineup with the addition of a couple underclassmen and Kathryn Forrester joining us again after being away for one year. We are definitely not where I want us to be by the end of the season, but we are improving every day.”

The Class 4A Raiders got off to commanding leads in the first two games — up 16-6 in both — to cruise to a 2-0 lead in the match over the 1A Panthers, who reached their first state tournament a year ago. In the first game, Drost had four kills down the stretch in-between two ace serves by Irish and Ashley Isom.

“Meagan's serve was definitely a bonus today,” Peon said. “She is going to be helping us just as much in the front row as she can contribute for us in the back row. With the competition we are going to be seeing, we will have to be able to serve tough and get teams out of system in order to succeed.”

Newberry (2-1) took its first lead of the match in game three. After eight ties, the Raiders took control and withstood a late Panther rally for a two-point win to end the match.

“We came here with high hopes,” said Newberry first-year coach Sherrod Moseley. “We gave it our all, that was the main goal. It was so hard to come out of the holes we were in the first and second set. They are a good team. I'm so glad we played them, it will help us out throughout the season.”

The Panthers will play their fourth game of the week tonight at Bell while Santa Fe returns to action next Wednesday when it hosts 6A Ocala Forest.

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