Prep volleyball season preview: Mustangs may still serve up a winner

Prep volleyball season preview: Mustangs may still serve up a winner

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Prep volleyball season preview: Mustangs may still serve up a winner

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Merritt Island suffered the loss of a large senior class that had taken the Mustangs to back-to-back state finals, but the team is again one of the favorites of Brevard County coaches to be among the best in high school volleyball.

Morgan Van Alstine, two-time FLORIDA TODAY Volleyball Player of the Year, led the cast of those departing, but new senior Becca Bower and junior Rachel Petkosh have been key players on the state tournament teams.

Rockledge, Holy Trinity, Viera and Cocoa Beach also are predicted to be teams to watch in the county, although Raiders coach Daren Bolton said 2013 “is the first season in a while there isn’t a clear favorite to win it all.”

Part of the reasoning has to be that so many teams lost several key contributors. Similar to Merritt Island, Rockledge is a team with high expectations despite heavy graduation losses. The Raiders lost six of their own. Titusville coach Eileen Serridge classified her team as young and rebuilding. Eau Gallie, a district champion a year ago, lost nine seniors and coach Barbara Berry said her 2013 team is “very inexperienced.”

“We have young talent that will have to quickly step into a varsity role,” she said. “I think by mid(dle) to the end of the season, we’ll be making strides in the right direction.”

Via FHSAA realignment, the Commodores now find themselves in Class 6A, District 7 with Edgewater, which knocked Eau Gallie out of the past two state tournaments.

An interesting district race with an all-Brevard look is in seven-team Class 4A, District 8, where Cocoa Beach, Holy Trinity and Edgewood all hope to contend. Indians coach Jeff Worcester is hoping his team will make a strong run at its first district title, but he described the Tigers as “de facto favorites.”

“Edgewood has some really talented returning starters in seniors Kylie Taffer and Michaela Steele and a strong junior in Summer Seague,” he said.

One big offseason move was Patrick Barrett’s, from head coach at Holy Trinity to the same job at Melbourne Central Catholic. He agreed the county is wide open, though he tagged Rockledge as “the ones to beat.”

Like many others, Barrett’s Hustlers are rebuilding. He picked John Carroll as the district favorite but said his team could surprise some.

Tonight’s high school volleyball

Tonight’s high school volleyball

6:30 p.m. City of Life at Covenant Chr.

6:30 p.m. Holy Trinity at M.I. Christian

7 p.m. Viera at Merritt Island

7:15 p.m. Bayside at Cocoa

7:15 p.m. Heritage at Eau Gallie

7:15 p.m. Titusville at Melbourne

7:15 p.m. Space Coast at Palm Bay

7:15 p.m. Satellite at Rockledge

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Prep volleyball season preview: Mustangs may still serve up a winner
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