By Kelly Parsons | Tampa Bay Times
Years past the time it was once a volleyball dynasty, Durant coach Brittany Wilson said, the Cougars again long for the respect they feel they deserve.
As the Academy of the Holy Names Volleyball Invitational approached last week, Wilson told her team just how it could begin the process of reclaiming it.
“One way to get the respect back is by winning this tournament, because there are a lot of big-name teams,” she told them.
Saturday, in its fifth match of the two-day tournament, Durant beat Holy Names 2-1 in the championship round to do exactly that.
The tournament also included Tampa Prep, Seffner Christian, Plant, Tampa Catholic, East Lake and Robinson, area teams AHN coach Jeff Davis said were of top caliber.
“That was our goal,” Davis said, “put as many good teams in the tournament as possible, so you’re getting that good competition where you have to play your best to win.”
Durant (7-0) had wins against Tampa Catholic, Seffner Christian, Tampa Prep and third-place Plant leading up to the championship. In all of them, Wilson said libero Annie Quinn’s spot-on passing helped the Cougars run their offense.
Durant is still far from where it wants to be — with a spot in the state finals at the end of the season — but a tournament victory, Wilson said, is a good place to start.
Davis was pleased with his team’s resiliency during the weekend, as he said it rebounded from low moments to capture wins against Robinson, East Lake, Tampa Catholic and Plant. To him, the tournament was an opportunity for Holy Names (5-1) to see what it’s capable of doing, and at the same time, understand how far it has to go.
“You figure out against really good teams what you need to work on,” he said.