Golden Eagles returns strong team minus one biggie

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 8/7/19

FLEMING ISLAND – Minus superstar Rayna Durden in the middle, Fleming Island High volleyball coach Amy Walker will rely on a nearly-total team of returners from last year’s region final team as …

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Golden Eagles returns strong team minus one biggie

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Minus superstar Rayna Durden in the middle, Fleming Island High volleyball coach Amy Walker will rely on a nearly-total team of returners from last year’s region final team as 2019 gets set to rev up.

“Rayna injured her knee over the summer and, more than likely, is gone for the season,” said Walker, who finished at 25-4 with a 3-0 loss to Tallahassee Leon in the region 1-8A final after blasting through Fletcher and Bartram Trail with 3-0 scores in the region playoffs. “I am expecting that the experience of getting there and getting beat like that will be the learning experience needed to fine tune this year.”

Walker’s crew of returners include powerhitter Jasmine Robinson, a junior, with daughter Maya Walker, just a sophomore, on her wing and setter Kaileigh DiPaula and Mollie Lawrence.

“Jasmine is an intimidating hitter and, with Rayna questionable, one who will be needed to become more consistent on the offense,” said Walker. “Rayna was very accurate with her spikes and Jasmine will now get her chances to score.”

The losses of Lyara Rosario (Valdosta State University) and Miah Pena (Ava Maria University) leaves the return to the playoffs on Robinson and back line specialist Jangelyz Ramirez with setter Kailey DiPaula all seasoned veterans of Walker’s rugged schedule.

Alexa Bates, younger sister to graduated Sydney Bates, will step in as an experience junior athlete with quality club experience. Newcomers included Sonny Hammond, Olivia Hudson and Bella Hamm all up from last year’s junior varsity.

Hoopster Emma Richard, a junior, is one all around athlete at Fleming Island that Walker expects to add a lot of overall athleticism to the game plan.

“She is just a good athlete, with good feet,” said Walker. “She can play just about any sport so I’m wanting to see her emerge as an impact player.”

Fleming Island drops to the new district 3-6A lineup with Atlantic Coast, Creekside, Englewood, First Coast and Fletcher, but Walker commented that her schedule has just a few district games.

“With the new playoff format, with a strong schedule getting playoff points, we have set up a bunch of games in the Orlando area to better our playoff chances,” said Walker. “We’re playing New Smyrna Beach High (7A Final Four in 2018), my alma mater, Episcopal (5A Final Four in 2018) and Fletcher in our early season with Middleburg also coming in October. We’re also playing the Bishop Moore Tournament.”

Fleming Island will play in a preseason tournament at Episcopal on August 17.

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