Gulf Breeze is on a mission.
After being crowned region champs in 2011, the Dolphins failed to make the state semifinals last year — falling to Jacksonville Bishop Kenny 3-1 in the region championship game.
Now, with three returning seniors and a younger look, Gulf Breeze is reloaded and ready for a run.
“That’s why you play 25 games — to get to know each other,” Gulf Breeze coach Waynn Sellers said. “We’re starting to really gel defensively.
“The biggest thing we’ve worked on from Day One is defense. We worked very, very hard on defense — not only trying to block people in the front row, but playing defense behind the front row.”
Gulf Breeze is the District 1-5A champion after gutting out victories against Panama City Arnold and Lynn Haven Mosley last week.
The Dolphins (23-4) put together a 3-2 win against Arnold in the district semifinals before toppling Mosley 3-1 for their fifth consecutive district championship.
“We’re playing really good volleyball,” Sellers said. “Right now, we’re starting to peak, playing better volleyball than we have all year. They’re a blue collar team. They just don’t give up.”
Gulf Breeze takes the next step on its journey today, hosting Live Oak Suwanee in the first round of the Region 1-5A tournament.
The winner has a date with the winner of today’s Wakulla-Mosley game. Pace lost to Mosley last year in the quarterfinals.
The Pace Patriots had little trouble advancing through District 1-6A, winning the title after defeating Washington in three close sets last week.
The Patriots (21-5) continue their postseason run Wednesday when they host Gainesville, while the Wildcats (12-9) travel to Middleburg.
Catholic (20-7) hosts Madison County on Wednesday after the Crusaders were crowned District 1-4A champions last week.
The victor will play the winner of the Tallahassee Florida High-Walton game, which also is on Wednesday.
Pensacola Christian Academy travels to Tallahassee Maclay today as the District 1-3A runner up.
The Warriors fell to North Bay Haven 3-0 in last week’s district championship game.
The winner will play the victor of today’s North Bay Haven-John Paul II matchup.