GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Clay County School District has released its inaugural “All-County Coaches Teams” for volleyball.
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Clay County School District has released its inaugural “All-County Coaches Teams” for volleyball. Teams are made up of a first team, second team and honorable mention, all of which were selected by the head coaches of each sport.
One of the most dominant volleyball programs in the area, Middleburg High, placed four players on the “1st Team” for the 2017 season. Fleming Island High had two players followed by one player from Oakleaf High. First Team selections will be invited to a planned May 10 celebration, along with the other athletes from the high school sports programs.
The top two setters in the county are Jillian Bemis from MHS and Nataleigh Nieuwenhuis of Fleming Island High. Nieuwenhuiss, a senior, helped lead FIHS to a 15-7 record and was a key player on offense. She recorded 37 aces, is considered an excellent server, had 141 digs and recorded 409 assists at the setter position.
Fleming Island volleyball coach, Amy Walker, describes her senior setter as “making great strides over the years. She has a true passion for the game and has dedicated countless hours to perfecting her craft.” Walker, a longtime volleyball coach, added that Nieuwenhuis has an “effortless touch on the ball.” When asked about her highlight of the year, Nieuwenhuis said,
“Beating Bartram Trail in a tight match.” Upon graduating, Nieuwenhuis hopes to play volleyball at Florida Gateway College.
Longtime MHS volleyball coach, Carrie Prewitt, has a dominating group on the “1st Team.” Junior Jillian Bemis, a setter, helped lead MHS to the regional quarterfinals, and along the way, recorded 256 assists, 164 kills and 154 digs.
“Jillian is a team player who works hard to contribute in many facets of our game,” Prewitt said. Bemis credits the team for its goal-setting meetings and viewed a team trip to Ichetucknee Springs as a bonding moment. “She does an outstanding job of running our offense. She is aggressive at the net, is a tough server and an effective defensive player. One of our most complete players,” Prewitt said.
Joining Bemis on the “First Team” are MHS teammates Britany Range, Mallory Roney and junior Tonee Hughes, the “1st Team” utility selection. “Tonee was our captain this year and her leadership skills, as well as her performance skills, helped our team in the backcourt,” Prewitt said. Hughes recorded 163 digs and her passing skills were critical to the MHS offense. Her future goal is to go to college for physical therapy or nursing.
Fellow MHS junior Mallory Roney was the leading scorer this past season. As an outside hitter, her attacking and service skills were evident throughout the year – 254 kills and 53 aces. Prewitt said, “Mallory is very athletic, competitive and impacts our team in a big way offensively and defensively.” Roney enjoys hanging out with her friends and plans on seeking an educational degree in her future college plans.
Range, the final MHS player selected for the “1st Team,” is just a sophomore. Covering the middle position for the Broncos, she would like to play basketball in college and is considered the most improved player for the MHS juggernaut. “Her presence on the court was important to our team,” Prewitt said. She had 89 total blocks, 74 kills and 37 digs. She did a little bit of everything out there.” With two years of eligibility left, look for Range to improve upon those statistics.
Fleming Island’s Emily Charbonneau, a senior for the Golden Eagles, was instrumental in the team growth this year. The outside hitter has a future goal of attending and playing volleyball at Reinhardt University. Charbonneau was described by her coach as a “powerhouse hitter.” With 250 kills, Coach Amy Walker described Charbonneau – a senior outside hitter – as an “all-around complete player who can do it all.” The highlight of the year for Charbonneau was when FIHS defeated New Smyrna Beach in a close match.
Oakleaf High’s Andrea Merced, a senior, was selected as the “1st Team” defensive specialist. Merced was described by Coach Jennifer Parrett as one of the hardest working players that she has coached. “Andrea always gives 100 percent when she steps on the court. She will be missed next year, but I look forward to following her in college,” Parrett said. Merced is proud of the fact that she set a school record of 1,000 digs in her three-year career at OHS. She plans to study sports medicine in college.
2nd Team All-County Coaches Volleyball Team
Setters Jenna Bemis of MHS and Brooke Rohrer of RHS, middle Erin Lebesch, defense specialist Hannah Forbes of Clay, outside hitters Kelley Catlett of Clay and Kaci Hollenbacher of FIHS and utility player Kaitlann Knudson of OHS.
Honorable Mention All-County Coaches Volleyball Team
Setters Kelsie Savage, of Clay, and Emily Loose, of Keystone Heights High, middle Jonae Sanders of RHS, defense specialist Olivia Beauchain of MHS, outside hitters Madison Heskett of Keystone Heights High and Bryanna Parrett of O