The Merritt Island High School Lady Mustangs – defending Class 5A state volleyball championship team - held their second annual “First On, Last Off” tryouts Monday morning at Midnight to kick off their run for a repeat. They have also been District 13 champs for seven straight years.
Coach Angie Patrick has high hopes for the team, but acknowledges that winning in consecutive years is difficult.
“We are very excited about this season. Everyone keeps stating the obvious – ‘it’s not going to be easy the second time around.’ We know this and we are excited and ready to work. We will do exactly the same as last season - be the hardest working team in practice and focus on one play, one set, one match… at a time.”
Patrick has every right to be confident as the championship team returns intact. Last year’s team did not have any seniors. “All of our 2011 starters are returning and we have a few very promising new players joining us.”
Leading the team this year are the two captains: Senior blocker Morgan Van Alstine (All-Space Coast Player of the Year) and Junior outside hitter Becca Bower. Patrick said, “They’ve both had a fantastic off-season, gaining strength and experience.”
Van Alstine is also looking forward to defending the title. “Everyone is ready to work together. We know there’ll be a target on our backs, but as long as we work hard and stay healthy, we know we can do it.”
Other players of note are Senior right side Halle Dotson and Sophomore libero Rachel Petkosh.
“This year I expect a lot of leadership. Unlike last year, we have seniors now. I know they want to leave a legacy of something very special,” Patrick said.
She credits the school administration’s support and her team’s positive attitude for this unique way to start the season.
“We will keep in mind how sweet the ending was last year and that will keep us hungry the whole way through.”
Coach Angie Patrick addresses the team at 11:50 pm - outside the MIHS gym.
Patrick gives final direction for the first drill of the season at 11:58 pm.br />
The Lady Mustangs start their season as defending champs - "First On" - at Midnight.