Viera volleyball will rely on senior leadership, young talent


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With a nice mixture of veterans and newcomers, the Viera Hawks have a talented roster that should make them quite competitive this season.

photo by Carl Kotala

As a four-year starter on the Viera High girls volleyball team, Nina Alvarez has always felt like she was an important part of the team.

But now, entering her senior season as a co-captain, the Hawks’ setter sees her role changing in other areas.

“I just feel like my position and my responsibility on the team has grown so much more,” Alvarez said. “Our former captain, Cailea (Gibbs), graduated last year and she was a really big point scorer that everyone relied on. I just feel like there’s a lot more on my shoulders, and that makes me really excited.

“I’m not scared about it, which I thought (I would be). I want to do the best for the coaches and for my girls on the team.”

Alvarez will be one of four seniors on this year’s team, joining middle blocker Kaitlyn Jensen, defensive specialist Christina Sedaros and right side/middle blocker Carly Kisch.

“It’s a young team compared to last year,” said Viera assistant coach Eric Murray, who is leading the team until head coach Sarah Wayne returns from maternity leave later this month.

“There’s a lot of good talent. We’re looking forward to what’s coming for us this season. The sky’s the limit with the talent we have.”

Among the younger players expected to have a big impact this season are freshman outside hitter Delaney Lott and sophomores Tory Kolasky (MB) and Shaine Horvath (RS/OH). Junior transfer Maddie Day (OH/RS) will also play a key role for Viera this season.

Alvarez believes the fact that many of Viera’s younger players have played for Murray before is an advantage in that they already know what his tendencies are, and they already know what’s expected of them.

The Hawks are trying to emphasize a “gym culture” this season.

“That’s just hustling all the time, showing up on time and giving your best every single time,” Alvarez said. “We’ve talked about how everyone has an outside life going on and everyone has hardships and other things their mind takes them to, but the two hours we have for practice needs to be with the team. That’s kind of what gym culture means to us.”

Given the number of new players on the roster, the Hawks could be one of those teams that only gets better as the season goes along.

“Some of those young kids have a lot of talent,” Murray said. “We just have to get the experience that we need, get acclimated to the system and what Sarah and I are looking for. Time will tell as we move on to see how things will turn out to be, but we’re very optimistic that we’re going to be very competitive.”