Pompano volleyball peaking at right time

Posted on 29 October 2015 by LeslieM

sports102915By Gary Curreri

Eighth-year Pompano Beach volleyball coach William Strachan loaded his schedule this season with perennial state powerhouses and the strategy has seemed to play off.

Pompano Beach moved to 15-11 on the season with a 25-14, 25-14, 25-23 victory over visiting Suncoast in Tuesday night’s Class 5A regional quarterfinal as senior setter Cassidy Bonito led the way with 6 kills, 30 assists and 35 digs.

It marked the second consecutive district championship for the Tornadoes and fourth title in the past five years. It was runner-up to Cardinal Gibbons in 2013 after also winning in 2011 and 2012. Tara Brannen also had 9 kills, 6 digs, 3 assists, 2 blocks, while Jasmine Souverein-Reisert had 8 kills, 6 blocks and 4 digs.

I purposely played a brutal schedule,” Strachan said. “I basically played anybody I thought was going to be good. We didn’t schedule St. Thomas Aquinas, but we played them twice. We played Merritt Island and Bishop Kenny. The reason for it is that we had a lot of young players come in and we wanted to catch them up to speed.”

Pompano Beach was knocked out in the Class 5A regional final last year by Merritt Island in four games. The Tornadoes will play Archbishop McCarthy on Saturday in the regional semifinal and the winner of that will likely get Merritt Island in the regional finals.

Strachan hoped for a .500 season when the year began. He said Bonito has played a large role in the team’s success.

I may be biased, but I think she is the best setter in Broward County,” Strachan said. “She is just a really strong, physical player, with really soft hands and nice ball control when it comes to setting.

Her volleyball IQ is tremendous. She sees a lot of things that young setters don’t see so she is able to run a more effective offense.”

Bonito, 18, of Pompano Beach, said the team did graduate a lot of players from last year’s team, but saw the potential as the season wore on.

We have a lot of freshmen that came in and stepped it up defense-wise,” Bonito said. “We really did try and fill the spots and practiced as a team to get that bond we needed.”

Bonito also took on more of a leadership role this season. The team captain was new to the school last year after transferring from West Broward. It also helped her adjust to the new players, something she will have to do when she leaves for college next year.

There is a lot of pressure, very much so,” Bonito said of still looking for a school to play at the next level. She wants to major in education. “I believe that I am a good contributor, especially as a setter. Every team I have been on I have been a captain, or in a leadership position. I am very cooperative and get along with anybody. Off the court, you have to be a student first and I also believe that is important. That’s a positive.”

Deerfield looks to lock up title

Deerfield Beach (7-1, 4-0), which failed to make the postseason last year, can win the District 11-8A football title with a victory over visiting Piper on Friday.

It would also ensure a regional quarterfinal home game against Plantation, while the loser would travel to Flanagan. The Bucks have outscored the opposition 262-85 and the lone blemish on the team’s record is a 33-15 loss to perennial state power, Jacksonville Bolles, four weeks ago.

Senior quarterback Teddrick Moffett is a dual threat having rushed for 227 yards and 8 scores and passed for 1,047 yards and 14 TDs. Deerfield Beach manhandled Monarch, 34-0 last week, while Piper topped Coral Springs, 34-8.

Piper (8-0, 4-0) has clinched its first playoff berth since 2003 and has outscored the opposition this season 171-90.

The kids got a chance (during the summer) to go out and compete against the best in the country and they realized that we have some of the best talent too,” said Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn, whose team also defeated nationally-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas, 6-3 earlier in the month. “If we continue to put it all together we have a chance to be special this year.”

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