The Marco Island Academy football and volleyball teams have concluded their seasons, the football team earlier than expected, and the volleyball team perhaps a little later than they may have counted on.
The game but undermanned football team ended their season a game early when their numbers dropped to 13 healthy players. The volleyball team advanced to the regional quarter-finals and nearly reached the semi-finals after a hard-fought loss 3-1 loss to Evangelical Christian on Thursday, October 22.
“We definitely didn’t cancel our final football game because we didn’t want to play it,” stated MIA Athletic Director Ryan Roberts. “We started with 19 and quickly went down to 16 players. After homecoming, we were down to 13, and that’s definitely not safe for our students. You’d have 11 on the field with 2 substitutes.” The Rays were scheduled to play St. John Newmann on October 30.
Roberts was proud of the fight in the Rays. The Rays finished 0-4, but never gave up all season. MIA scored 64 points in four games this season, compared to 31 in seven games last season.
“I’ve never seen as much grit as I’ve seen with this group,” she said. “If you look at the Oasis game, they played them tight. Then you go to Canterbury, we lost our senior offensive lineman. We were leading in that game. For those guys, to never quit was a true test of their character. Community School of Naples will probably go 8-0. Then to compete with Southwest Florida Christian like they did in the Homecoming game. Everyone on the sidelines, the players, the coaches and the cheerleaders were happy. We couldn’t ask for anything else from those boys.”
The volleyball team finished 13-7 overall and 9-2 in district play. Their regional playoff loss, 18-25, 24-26, 25-23, 24-26, to Evangelical Christian, ended a season that showed a young team improving as the season wore on.
“It was a tough loss,” said Head Coach Alyssa Stolinas. “They battled hard but we just couldn’t close the games out. We added more competitive teams this year. We started off 0-3 and then ended up 13-7. We definitely figured it out and we are so excited for next year already. We are so excited to finally have a place to call home. Something permanent for our program.”
Roberts is looking forward moving to the new MIA campus next year. She feels the beautiful new campus will help attract student–athletes to the Rays’ programs.
“I think that will be a real draw for students,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be a beautiful, state-of-the-art campus. They can practice right after school. If the lightning detector goes off, they can come right back into the school. I think it will be a lot better for them. We’ll have a weight room.
“I think we’re going to have a beautiful facility. Each program has the ability to grow and get better.”