The Lely High School volleyball team's lone senior was still in elementary school the last time the Trojans didn't have a district banner. On Thursday night, a young Trojans squad continued the dynasty.
Lely picked up its seventh consecutive district title with a three-game sweep (25-20, 25-20, 25-15) sweep of Cypress Lake in the Class 6A-District 12 final at home.
The Trojans did it with a team that returned just three players from last year's squad and one senior.
"It's something new and exciting for them," Lely coach Christina Haire said. "It shows them that 'Hey, age doesn't matter but we can still perform and reach regionals and do some work.'"
Senior middle hitter Payge Sutton, who led the Trojans with nine kills, five aces, two digs, and a block, said the title means this year's squad gets to continue a legacy despite a lack of experience.
"It shows all the work that we put in paying off," Sutton said. "People can see that even though we have lost a lot of people from last year we're still a strong team."
Lely (11-8) will host the 6A-11 runner-up Dunedin in the first round of the regional tournament on Wednesday, while Cypress Lake will face 6A-11 champion Tarpon Springs the same day.
Although it was their second consecutive title resulting in a sweep in the district championship, the Panthers kept the match close through each set.
"I'm proud of how my girls fought back," Cypress Lake coach Alyssa Young said. "We definitely have a few things to work on heading into next week, but we're excited to get back in the gym and get to work."
Cypress Lake kept it tight with a few spurts in the first set.
After jumping out to a big 10-point lead in the second set, the Panthers climbed back to bring the set within just one point. The Trojans held on, reclaiming a five-point lead to survive the second set 25-20.
In the third set, Lely jumped out to a quick four-point lead, but the Panthers kept it within two points through most of the set. With the third set tied at 12 apiece, the Trojans went on a 13-3 run to finish off the set.
Lely freshman Colleen Ziegelmaier had eight kills, four aces, and one assist, and Morgan Broxson had 18 assists, five aces, two kills and 2 digs.
"They've done a lot of work this offseason," Haire said. "We worked through some hiccups at the beginning of the season but we progressed and here we are. It's a great feeling."