The Lady Seahawks volleyball team, a young squad without any seniors, is working to reach the .500 mark, but a sweep Tuesday in an away game against Port St. Joe certainly was a love in the right direction.
Tara Klink’s squad won three straight games, 25-16, 26-24 and 25-12 to take the match. “This is our rivalry match-up, and it always feels good to come out on top,” said Klink.
Junior co-captain Abby Johnson and sophomore captain Jahneese Brathwaite led the team’s serving with four aces each, followed by sophomore Sage Brannan and freshman Kylah Ross with three aces each.
Freshman Skylar Johnson was the team's leading hitter with four kills, followed by freshman Kylah Ross with three.
“Jahneese Brathwaite played an awesome game as setter with eight assists,” said Klink. “She has been the ultimate embodiment of being captain of the team, doing whatever is asked of her to better the team as a whole. She is one of our best hitters, yet is consistent and game-smart enough to be our setter.
“Setters never see any glory because they aren't making the big kills, but she touches the ball every play and is the brains of the operation out there so I want to give her the credit she deserves!” said the coach.
She also cited the team’s seventh grade libero Ryan Brown, who she said “is consistently all over the backcourt digging up balls for our middle hitters. She has become a huge asset to our team.”
Other members of the squad include sophomores Ariel Andrews and Brooklyn O’Neal, and juniors Maliah Lockley and Tiauna Benjamin, the latter sidelined by injury.
“We have a very young team this year, but they have a lot of athletic ability and drive to win,” said Klink. “We graduated seven seniors last season, and have no seniors this season, so we are in the process of learning how to work together as a team. I am looking forward to finishing out this season and seeing what next season has in store for us.
“We are still missing our top hitter, are waiting not so patiently for Tiauna Benjamin’s return,” said the coach. “I miss her, the team misses her, and I'm sure the fans miss her.”
The junior varsity team won their match 25-23 and 25-20, led by freshmen Kylee Smith and Marissa Gilbert, and sophomore Meredith Alford, all with 2 aces each. Eighth grader Hannah Abel led the team in kills, which are unreturned spikes, totaling at three.
Sophomore Myia Maxwell was the team's leading setter with four assists, which are sets that result in a kill for the hitter.
Also on the JV squad are freshmen Mya Brown, Autumn Loesch, Samantha Anderson, and Grace Adair, and sophomores Kaitlin Robbins and Jaelyn Tipton.
“The returning players on the JV team have really been a strong base for this team,” said Klink. “We have a lot of fresh faces this year, but they are learning to come together and make the bigger plays needed to win. JV head coach Hayden Warren, along with the rest of the coaching staff, will continue to push these girls to the next level so they are ready for varsity play.”
To complete the St. Joe sweep, the middle school team won 25-18 and 25-13, led by seventh grader Sarah Ham, who led with eight aces, which are unreturned serves, followed by eighth grader Jostyn Tipton with three.
Middle school players also include seventh graders Shianne Shaw, Jazmyn Pavon, Madison Millender and Maleah Bell, and eighth graders Emily Patterson, Taylor Mallon, Alexia McNair, Jada Allen, and Kayleigh Messer.
“The level of play for our middle school team has definitely improved over the years,” said Klink. “The entire team is serving overhand and their game play is much more advanced. We look forward to watching these athletes grow and pushing them to play at an even higher level.”
The varsity squad got off to a slow start Aug. 20 as they fell at home 3-1 to Bay. The team dropped the first two, 25-21 and 25-14, and came back to win the third 25-22 before falling in the final game 25-22.
On Aug. 22 at home against Crossroads, both the middle school and JV team won, 2-0 and 3-0 respectively.
On Aug. 27, the varsity Lady Seahawks fell in three straight at home to the Bozeman Lady Bucks, by the scores of 25-17, 25-13 and 25-20.
On Aug. 29 at home, the girls bounced back for a district win at home, 3-1 over Wewahitchka. The Lady Hawks won the opener 30-28, then fell 25-17 before winning 26-24 and 25-13.
On Aug. 31 at Altha, Franklin County in three straight to the Lady Wildcats, 25-15, 25-20 and 25-15.
On Sept. 3 at Rutherford, the Lady Seahawks bounced back to win three straight, 25-23, 25-17 and 25-19.
On Sept. 5, both the varsity and JV teams won 3-0 against Rickards at home, and on Sept. 9, hosting Altha, the varsity team lost 3-0, 25-15, 25-20 and 25-15.
On Sept. 10, hosting Wakulla Christian, Franklin County fell 3-0, by scores of 25-17, 25-12 and 25-11.
On Sept. 12 at Bozeman, the girls lost again to district rival Bozeman, falling in three straight, 25-23, 25-16 and 25-21.