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Windermere Observer Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 8 months ago

Bridgewater Middle volleyball makes it a 4-peat

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The Bobcats' victory in the OCPS County Championship Dec. 13 marked the team's fourth championship in as many years.
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

It’s more than a repeat and better than a three-peat.

Yes, the Bridgewater Middle School volleyball team has won a remarkable four consecutive county championships following its sweep of SunRidge Middle in the OCPS Championship Dec. 13.

Once again, the victory completed another 10-0 season (the Bobcats went 6-0 in the regular season and 4-0 in the playoffs) without losing a single set.

According to assistant coach Katiane Bleeker, whose own playing experience includes playing and coaching at the University of South Florida, the team’s success in recent years has been a combination of talent and tenacity.

“I think we get a very good pool of club players,” Bleeker said. “They’re committed to winning in middle school and the club coaches even know that.”

This season was Bleeker’s second as an assistant coach with the team. Her daughter, Ana, is one of the top youth volleyball players in Central Florida and one of seven eighth-graders on the Bridgewater team, most or all of whom likely will move on to play at Windermere High. The Wolverines made the FHSAA Class 8A Playoffs in their first season this fall, despite not having any seniors, and lost in the first round.

The Bobcats not only have gone undefeated for four consecutive seasons, but also they have not lost a set since the 2015 championship match, which they won in three sets.

And although that type of success could lead to a lapse in focus, Bleeker said the girls did a good job throughout the playoffs of respecting their opponents and taking each team seriously.

“They knew that SunRidge (Bridgewater’s opponent in the championship) had a very talented team as well — we knew that was going to be a hard game,” Bleeker said. “They are all friends from playing club, so the girls understand the level of volleyball and that they can’t take anything for granted.”

Steven Ryzewski is the Senior Sports Editor for ObserverPreps.com, as well as all three of Observer Media Group's print publications in Orange County. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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