Destin Marlins return strong to the volleyball courts

After losing only one to graduation, the Destin Marlins' volleyball team is looking to hit the courts strong this season.

“We have so many returning players,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce.

The Destin Marlins wrapped up last year with a trip to the Okaloosa County Championship, where they lost to the Baker Gators.

Out of that team that made a run at the championship, the Marlins only lost one.

“So we have a great group of girls coming back,” Pierce said. “We have both our setters back.”

Playing in the setter position are Kyla Buehner and Jessica Pierce, both eighth graders.

Other eighth graders on the varsity team include Ava Smith, Anna Kimball, Kay Cannon, Kiersten Martin, Avery Spraggins, Blakely York and Lauren Rice. Seventh graders are Elaine Wolford, Brooke Henderson and Ashley Bouck.

“We’re changing up the offensive scheme and changing our formations up … so it’s been a bit of a learning curve. But they are doing great,” Pierce said.

In addition to having a strong nucleus from last year, Pierce said a lot of the girls have been playing in summer ball clubs.

“So when they walked into the gym they had been playing for six months straight," she said.

Assisting Pierce with the varsity team is Dani Karvonen, who she said loves the game.

Working with the 12 girls on the junior varsity team are Carmen Karvonen and Carrie Plasier.

Destin tips off their season at 4 p.m. Aug. 26 at home against the Freeport Bulldogs.