LAKELAND — George Jenkins, behind a balanced attack, took the first two sets, then held off Ridge Community for a 25-14, 25-8, 26-24 victory on in the Class 9A, District 7 semifinals.
After one-sided wins in the first two sets, Jenkins nearly was forced to a fourth set. Ridge (7-12) rallied and led 23-21 before Madi Dorsey and Nina Norris helped close out a 4-0 run that gave Jenkins the victory.
The Eagles (9-9) move into the championship game against the Gateway-Osceola winner on Thursday at Haines City High School at 7 p.m.
“I was pleased that we didn’t let up because we were pressing for pushing for each point,” George Jenkins coach Lisa Bickerton said. “I think we were just able to handle the pressure in that last set.”
George Jenkins led by five and six points throughout the first match and then excellent net played produced a 5-0 run at the end of the set.
The second set saw the Eagles spring out 12-2 lead on the play of Bianca Johnson and Sarah Mason. Johnson had 11 kills and Mason eight kills for the match.
Johnson’s two kills, one block and one ace helped the Eagles close out the second set with an 8-2 run.
Nina Norris was also steady for Jenkins. She finished with four kills, an ace and a stuff block.
“Nina Norris (junior) was very consistent tonight,” Bickerton said.
Dorsey led the Eagles defense with 19 digs, and Payton Jaynes, one of only four seniors, had 19 assists and two aces. Mason also collected 10 digs and Madison Graham and Stephanie Selz had six kills apiece.
Nana Romain led Ridge with 16 digs and Tiana Phillips three digs, five blocks, and 3 kills.