The Marco Island Academy girls provided the home crowd with a nice volleyball exhibition, blitzing Gateway Charter in three straight games, 25-18, 25-12, 25-7, on Thursday, October 1st.
Head Coach Alyssa Stolinas is delighted with what she’s seeing from her talented team, who as recently as last week was looking for leaders to emerge.
“I think we played well,” Stolinas said. “We really did. We had more fun. We definitely stepped up.”
After a tough 3-game loss to Class 5A Naples High, where Stolinas felt her team was struggling, she saw her team develop more cohesiveness and start playing to the potential she sees in them.
The Class 2A Rays bounced back with 3-game wins in a doubleheader against Mason Classical Academy, a hard–fought 5-game match win over Class 5A Golden Gate, and a 3-game win over Village School.
Stolinas was perplexed as the season wore on because she felt her talented team was struggling. She thinks those days may be behind them as she said, “I absolutely see us improving. I think we just get so hard on ourselves sometimes and we don’t know how to get out of it. These past couple matches we’ve felt comfortable and we’ve definitely found leaders—I really can’t pick out one. Our three captains, especially, have all stepped up. I think we’re finally starting to get the hang of it. It was a slow start this year.”
The Rays’ captains are junior Camryn Rose, junior Sophia Shea and senior Megan Sweeney.
Their big win over a large public school like Golden Gate on September 29 was certainly a confidence builder for the Rays.
“Golden Gate was a great match,” Stolinas said. “They’re a great team. They had some great hitters. And they’re a big school. They have a lot of girls to pull from. We only have fifteen. I guess that’s where we gained our confidence a little bit.”
Stolinas sees MIA hitting their stride as they enter an important stretch of the season. “We’re definitely getting prepared for next week,” she said. “Next week we play St. John Neumann again, we play our PCAC Championship, then we play Palmetto Ridge. It’s a very big week next week. Then the following week we have districts.”
The Rays, 11-5, started their season against St. John Neumann, and narrowly lost in a tough 5-game match. Palmetto Ridge represents another big-school challenge for the Rays, as they play in the tough Class 6A District 8. After the PCAC tournament, the Rays entered district play where they received the top seed, despite not having the top record in the district.
“We have a bye and we’ll host the winner of the match between Community School and First Baptist Academy on Thursday, October 15. It was a blind draw this year. So we got lucky. So we’ll automatically go to regionals.”