Marco Island Academy Head Coach Alyssa Stolinas feels she has a strong roster, strong enough to compete with a 5A opponent like the Naples squad they lost to in three games on Wednesday, September 23, at the Marco Island Charter Middle School gym. What she’s looking for is more leadership from her players on the court.
“We’ve gotten better from last year,” Stolinas remarked. “The problem is we haven’t had anybody step up and take charge. It’s hard to play as individuals. We’ll get there. We have our games. Once we fall behind, it’s hard to get them back into it. The skill’s there. We just need to find a leader.”
It’s the first time the 2A Rays have taken on the Eagles. The MIA coach felt good about her team’s chances when going into the match.
“Naples is a great team, don’t get me wrong. But we’ve faced First Baptist Academy, we’ve faced Seacrest,” Stolinas said, naming two of the area’s top teams. “Naples’ tempo is just a lot faster than we’re used to. We were kind of shocked. We’ve just got to find someone to step up. Clearly something’s off. We’ll get there. We only have one senior, but we have three captains.
“I keep referring to our win last year against Lely. This was our first time ever playing Naples. It’s just so frustrating. I think if we would have played to our full potential, it would have been a great game. We might not have beaten them.”
The Rays may have turned the match around if they were able to win a tight game too. They battled Naples high in the second game, tying the Eagles at 21-21, 22-22, 23-23, 24-24, and 25-25. Then the Eagle ran off two straight points for the overtime win.
A deflated Rays team fell 25-12 in the finale.
“When we’re not on, we’re not on,” Stolinas lamented. “It’s something we’re struggling with as a team. I think the whole rushing into the season with the COVID has really taken a toll on all of us.
The Rays, 8-5 overall, play host to The Village School and Gateway Charter this week and travel to play 5A Golden Gate.