Volleyball falls to Cocoa Beach in final

Jaclyn Martin, Staff Writer

Cocoa Beach defeated West Shore 25-14, 20-25, 26-24, 16-25, 15-11 in the district championship match Thursday night. The 20-5 Lady Wildcats already had qualified for regional play by knocking off  Astronaut 25-14, 25-7, 25-18 in the district semifinal earlier in the week. They will next take on top-ranked Bishop Moore Catholic School on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first regional volleyball match in school history.

During the Astronaut match, senior Aalekhya Tenali, libero, had a 21-point serving streak during the three set match against the Astronaut War Eagles.

“We had solid play from Tenali on the service line,” Coach Bonnie Priester said.

Aalekhya also led the team in digs, catching 14 throughout the game.

The Wildcats will take on Cocoa Beach at home Thursday night for the district championship.

“This season’s success has a lot of sentimental value for me because I’ve know most of the starting varsity players since they were first here at West Shore, as seventh-graders, playing freshman volleyball,” JV coach Nikki Anagnostis said. “There girls deserves all the success they’re getting because they have shown astonishing commitment to our program, even in the face of adversity.”

On Monday, the Lady Wildcats combined for a team total of 20 aces and 34 kills to triumph 25-11, 25-17, 25-15, against the Cocoa Tigers in the first round of the district tournament.

The team has outdone its historical performance from the last season, achieving a 19-4 season-season record. Last week, the Lady Wildcats defeated both Melbourne High School on its Senior Night game, as well as Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School to wrap-up the regular season.

“We’re not the team that we once were. We’re beating tough teams on their Senior Nights, and it feels great to win,” sophomore Casey Schauman said. “Practicing hard and playing club volleyball are big reasons that we’ve been so successful this year. We’ve also played together for a really long time, so we’ve become a really balanced and stable team.”

The Lady Wildcats currently are seeded second in the district competition, with sophomore Schauman making Florida Today‘s list of both the district’s top servers and setters.

“One of the major differences this year that is probably the biggest benefit to the team is the amount of players who participated in club volleyball,” senior captain Tess Sheets said. “We all went to AAU nationals this summer where we faced much harder competition, and this experience has made us a better team.”