Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
Family and friends delightfully occupied the Shark’s gym during the Fall preseason two-day volleyball event at Nature Coast Tech on August 18 and 19.
Preseason is usually geared towards finding where your players fit best on the court, preparation, and fine-tuning positions to face opponents across the net.
Four teams participated in the annual fall season volleyball event; Springstead vs. Weeki Wachee and Nature Coast Tech matched up with Hudson.
The Lady Hornets are under a new coach this season, Noemi Rivera. Rivera graduated from Central High School and went on to play JUCO in Pensacola when she circled back to Hernando County to coach the Lady Hornets.
“It was a good time for me,” Rivera said.
Rivera has a challenging task ahead, filling Kelly Werkmeister’s eight-season winning streak; however, Tuesday night’s preseason game against Springstead was a close match at the beginning when they lost by 5 points-25/20, but they succeeded in winning the following matches: 12/25 and 10/15.
“Once they get into their groove, I don’t think we should have a problem,” Rivera said. “First game nerves were all over the place for all of us, I am glad they were able to shake that out and move forward, but I am very excited about this team. We have huge amounts of talent.”
Andrea Gracey is back for another year at Springstead coaching the girl’s volleyball team, and her starting lineup is young and promising.
“Regardless of anything, they exceed my expectations,” said Gracey. “Of my starting line up five of them are 9th and 10th graders; you are looking at the future of Springstead. We have a lot of young talent, and I am excited to continue to build off of this.”
Coaching for the girl’s volleyball and basketball, Emily Gore has set the bar on both those sports. But starting the 2021/22 school year, she stepped into an additional role as NCT’s athletic director. The question would be- Would she leave coaching?
“I feel it’s like a good challenge, in a good way. I am excited for the year, but at the same time, it’s a lot of work,” Gore said.
Gore mentions that she is not ready to move out of coaching thus far, and with the support that she receives from her assistants and staff, everything is going smoothly.
Emma Buscemi, Hannah Valachovic, and Kristen McElroy are the three returning players going into the 2021 season as seniors, and according to Gore, they are leading the way for the team.
“This is a fun group, but at the same time, they are super competitive. I want the girls to grow as players, so we have to challenge them. We want to develop as a team, and we don’t want to be predictable and easy to figure out,” Gore said.
Nature Coast dominated Hudson, 25/14 and 25/11.