FLEMING ISLAND - Though losing one of the top jumpers and hitters in all of Florida to graduation; Reyna Durden, Fleming Island High volleyball coach Amy Walker has a lot to look forward to with a …
FLEMING ISLAND - Though losing one of the top jumpers and hitters in all of Florida to graduation; Reyna Durden, Fleming Island High volleyball coach Amy Walker has a lot to look forward to with a returning lineup of firepower that should wreak havoc on enemy defense. Fleming Island got spot duty from Durden, heading to University of Tampa, near the season’s end due to injury.
Led by a front line of returners Molly Lawrence, Jasmine Robinson, Emma Richard and Maya Walker that totaled more than 500 kills last year, Walker’s team should have little trouble putting quick points on the board. Fleming Island loses Kailey Stover up front as well.
“As far as a team response to the pandemic, they are hungrier than ever to get back in the gym and train together,” said Walker. “There will be a newfound appreciation for being able to play the game they love.”
In the backfield, senior Jangelyz Ramirez has been a human highlight film for court fans with her diving saves and her quarterbacking of the Golden Eagles front attack. The lone graduate in the backfield was ace setter Kailey DiPaula.
Also back to man the back line should be seniors Alexa Bates and Sonoma Hammond.
For the season, Fleming Island must answer their quick exit from the region playoffs after a hard-fought district title win ofer Creekside. Both Creekside and Fleming Island (without Durden) were early outs from region play with Ocala Forest, a former 7A stronghold and
Tallahassee Leon, the eventual 6A champion, both in the same regional lineup for 2020. Gainesville Buchholz, a former Fleming Island nemesis, got beat by Leon in the region 1-6A final and will again be on the opposite end of the region bracket should Fleming Island advance.
In district 3-6A, Fleming Island should again tangle with Creekside and Fletcher as the top three teams with Atlantic Coast, Englewood and First Coast the remainder of the lineup.
Sypniewski, Bemis families join Lady Broncos
MIDDLEBURG - Middleburg High volleyball coach Carrie Prewitt has been doing a lot of pushups this summer to get herself ready for her third decade of coaching and the solo effort has fueled some inspiration to her Lady Broncos team with large numbers of incoming players attending summer sand pit workouts for the long-time mentor.
“We have had a good turn out for our summer training,” said Prewitt. “The girl’s have showed commitment and willingness to show up and work hard. They are anxious to start.”
Prewitt, who got surprised in her new district last year with a championship loss to Blanding Blvd. rival Ridgeview High last year, is not one to settle in on past losses, but rather one to device ways to overcome.
With handful of strong players graduating from last year’s squad; Britany Range (to Seton Hall basketball), Mikayla Simmons, Mone Gordon, Kayleigh Smith and Laney Miller, the returning lineup will feature a ton of new faces. With these absences, Prewitt loses point production to the tune of 400 kills and 150 blocks.
The top returner has to be senior outside hitter Jenna Sypniewski who returns to complete a family of power players under Prewitt that date as far back as 2014 (Julia, Final Four 2013, 2014) and Megan (2010). Also a major presence at the net would have been senior blocker Skylar Baltezegar, at 6’-2”, who is recovering from knee injury.
Sypniewski was a powerhitter from the outside with over 200 scores right behind Range with Shelby McKinney’s number at 91 scores. That’s the deficit needed to shore up. Another family tree that puts another athlete on the floor, plus one in the coaching box, is junior Josie Bemis, who follows sisters Jenna (2017), Jillian (2018) and Jordan (2014) in Bronco Red with Jordan joining Prewitt as junior varsity coach.
Prewitt’s new faces will be tasked to uphold the Bronco tradition of tough scheduling and rugged weeks of game on game on game plus tough tournaments. Right off the bat, if the season goes as planned, Prewitt has Spruce Creek (7A regions) and Bartram Trail (7A regions) in August, Ponte Vedra (5A champs) and Santa Fe (4A runnerup) in September with a Tampa Premier Tournament to follow, then a Bolles (4A regions) tournament to end September. October gets Bishop Kenny (4A region final) with a finale with Episcopal (3A region berth).