2022 All-Area Athletes & Teams

All-Area Athletes and Teams

All-Area Athletes & Teams

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Page 20 of 39

www.yoursun.com Page 21 By PATRICK OBLEY SPORTS WRITER It was the kind of volleyball season Venice has come to expect. It was the kind of volleyball season Lemon Bay has never seen. It was the kind of vol- leyball season Charlotte didn't know it had in it. Those three programs made strong postseason runs this fall and, as a result, dominate this year's Daily Sun All-Area first and second teams. Venice went 22-9 and won its 20th consecutive district title. It's a virtu- ally unheard-of brand of dominance. While Venice will be losing several key members of a team that reached the regional finals, it will be restocked from a junior varsity team that went undefeated. Lemon Bay tied a re- cord for most wins while setting a mark for fewest losses during its 26-3 run to its own regional finals berth. With a squad rich in front-line bangers, the Mantas have created a foundation for sustained success. Charlotte entered the season without a clear idea where its hitting was going to come from. They never really did find an answer but along the way, the Tarpons discovered they could win by outlasting and frustrating their foes. By coming up with a key kill or block when needed, the Tarpons won a district title and reached the region semifinals. Port Charlotte welcomed a new coach and spent the season finding its future. DeSoto County's promising season was short- circuited by a raft of injuries, but a talented group of underclassmen emerged. North Port also found itself seeking the next big thing among its large influx of youth. Imagine made a little history when one of its players became the first student-athlete in school history to earn a Division I athletic scholarship. All in all, it was the kind of volleyball season that will be remembered. The Coach of the Year is Lemon Bay's Pat Auer. FIRST TEAM BROOKE ANDREWS LEMON BAY, SENIOR Behind the Mantas' dominant front row stood Andrews, a defensive spe- cialist and expert digger. Andrews led Lemon Bay with 271 digs and was second on the team in assists and aces. IRELAND FERGUSON VENICE, SENIOR A member of Venice's varsity since her freshman season, Ferguson has been a do-it-all, "glue" presence, lining up wherever needed. She has been a defensive specialist who leads the team in digs, a dead-eyed outside hitter and a setter with a deft touch on assists. PADEN KELLER VENICE, SENIOR A year ago, Keller earned a first-team, all-area nod for her penchant to come up big in Venice's biggest games. That didn't change during her senior season. Case in point: When Venice fell behind by a set in the district title match against Gulf Coast, she opened the second set with a pair of kills and a pair of blocks, triggering a 3-1 win. SERENA KOHLER IMAGINE, SENIOR The Sharks' dominating middle hitter became the school's first- ever Division I signee in any sport when she put her signature on a letter-of-intent to play at Oral Roberts. That came shortly after recording her 1,000th career kill. KRISTEN LOWERS CHARLOTTE, SENIOR Lowers displayed plenty of versatility as an opposite hitter and setter. In addition to leading the team in kills, she served up a team-leading 30 aces and was top-five among Tarpons in blocks, digs and assists. KENDALL STEINERT LEMON BAY, SENIOR The do-it-all Bob Jones University commit might have been the area's very best distributor in her lone season with the Mantas. Steinert passed out a whopping 795 assists as a setter and knocked home 70 aces at the service line. She also came in handy on defense, where her 236 digs trailed only Andrews. ALEX VEGA CHARLOTTE, SENIOR As she was during her junior season when she earned second-team, all-area honors, Vega was the very definition of a libero for the Tarpons this season. The team's heart and soul, she led from the back row, diving her way 331 digs. SECOND TEAM LEAH BARTLETT, Venice, junior TAYLOR ORRIS, Lemon Bay, sophomore ASHLEY REYNOLDS, Venice, junior OCEAN ROTH, Lemon Bay, sophomore ANDREA STELLWAG, North Port, senior MORGAN WILLIS, Port Charlotte, junior BROOKE ZOLKOS, DeSoto County, senior Expectations met, expectations exceeded SUN PHOTO BY JUSTIN FENNELL The Indians' Ireland Ferguson gets a kill past Lakewood Ranch defenders during a match this past fall. ALL-AREA VOLLEYBALL

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