2022 All-Area Athletes & Teams

All-Area Athletes and Teams

All-Area Athletes & Teams

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Page 28 of 39

www.yoursun.com Page 29 By VINNIE PORTELL SPORTS WRITER It was impossible to know what to expect in the first-ever season of girls beach volleyball in our area. Some area schools — namely Charlotte and Lemon Bay — had established successful club teams, but no one knew who would be the best, and in some cases, if there would even be a season. Venice rushed to put its team together in the months before the season began, eventually establishing a varsity squad aliated with the high school in December. In the end, those eorts proved worthwhile. The Lady Indians dominated their competition as they completed a perfect regular season, and then knocked o Port Charlotte and Charlotte to win a district championship. The team's No. 1 pairing of Alayna Prachar and Ireland Ferguson and its No. 5 pairing of Taylor Arden and Iris Devries were essential to the Indians' run — as both are finalists for Sun Preps Beach Volleyball Duo of the Year, joining Lemon Bay's Kendall Steinert and Ocean Roth. Venice was eliminated in the opening round of the inaugural Florida High School Athletic Association state champion- ships, but it's likely the Indians could get even better as the years go on. After leading Venice to a one-loss season despite putting his squad together on the fly, Indians coach John Richards is the Sun Preps Beach Volleyball Coach of the Year. But it wasn't just the Indians who stood out. Lemon Bay started out just as hot as Venice — winning its first 10 matches — thanks to a few players from a historically successful indoor team this past fall. They were led by a dominant No. 1 pairing of indoor players Kendall Steinert and Ocean Roth, who are also finalists for Duo of the Year. In the end, the Indians and Tarpons battled down to the wire in a 3-2 win that sent Venice on to regionals. Here's who finished as the best in our area: KENDALL STEINERT and OCEAN ROTH LEMON BAY There might not be a better beach volleyball tandem than pairing a skilled setter with a strong outside hitter. That's exactly what Lemon Bay had in Steinert and Roth this year. The Mantas' No. 1 duo took their chemistry from the indoor team and carried it over to the sand courts — going 11-1 as they led Lemon Bay to a 12-3 record and a finish in the district semifinals. IRELAND FERGUSON and ALAYNA PRACHAR VENICE Ferguson and Prachar, Venice's only two seniors, thought their varsity volleyball careers were over when indoor season ended. When Venice added its beach team, the two jumped at the opportunity and made the most of it. The Indians' No. 1 pairing went 12-4 and clinched the match-deciding point in the regional play-in to send Venice to states. JULIA DAMICO and MADELINE WADSWORTH CHARLOTTE Charlotte was one of the area's best teams — finishing one point shy of a district title — and couldn't have done it without their No. 2 duo of Damico and Wadsworth. The duo went 12-2 and battled to win each of their district matches as they helped Charlotte reach the district final. IRIS DEVRIES and TAYLOR ARDEN, VENICE The only No. 5 pairing on this list, Devries and Arden played above their seeding each match — finishing 15-1, including a perfect regular season and dis- trict tournament before losing to Cardinal Mooney at states. Providing essentially guaran- teed points to their team all sea- son, Arden and Devries turned most matches into a race for two points for the Indians. TYLER EVANS and MORGAN WILLILS PORT CHARLOTTE Port Charlotte struggled to win games in its first season, but it wasn't due to its No. 1 duo of Evans and Willis. The pair of juniors beat some of the top No. 1 pairings in the area, including Charlotte and Venice. Standouts from our area's first season These pairings shined in beach volleyball's inaugural year SUN PHOTO BY KAT EDWARDS Lemon Bay's Rylie Thibideau dives for the cut shot during distrtict play earlier this spring. SUN FILE PHOTO BY JUSTIN FENNELL Venice No. 1 player Ireland Ferguson sets up teammate Alayna Prachar with a pass earlier this year against North Port at Venice Beach. SUN PREPS ALL-AREA BEACH VOLLEYBALL

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