NAVARRE — To her East squad Niceville coach Karson Hinds imparted a few messages during Monday and Tuesday’s practices.
The first was a stroke of the ego: “You’re the best of the best.”
The second took more of a somber tone: “This is the last time you’ll play in a high school volleyball match.”
Of course both led to the same conclusion: “Make the most of this opportunity.”
That “opportunity” is the 13th Annual Subway High School All-Star Volleyball game, which pits seniors from Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties (East) against Escambia County (West) and will descend upon Navarre High at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
It’ll also be an emotional farewell for Hinds, a Niceville alumna leaving her post for South Carolina due to her husband’s new military assignment.
As for those practices, Hinds said “they went really well.”
“Monday was a little rocky because everyone was a bit nervous because they hadn’t played volleyball in a week or two,” Hinds said. “But they got acclimated and then on Tuesday we started jiving as a team and had some fun with some competition drills.”
All-Star games — this one the best of seven sets — can be tricky with managing huge rosters and playing time. But don’t get it twisted: Hinds wants to win.
“Winning is fun and that’s always the goal anytime you play, but we’re still going to switch things up and play everyone,” she said. “We want everyone to have a good time in their last game.”
Locally, the East roster of 18 seniors includes Baker’s Afton Adams, Choctaw’s Belanna Torres, Crestview’s Georgia Small and Calina Corthell, Fort Walton Beach’s Sarah Duckett, Laurel Hill’s Jessica L’homme, Navarre’s Alyssa Kisselburg and Haley McGee, Niceville’s Angie Dzoba and Peyton Chambers and Rocky Bayou’s Avery Tennant.
The West roster meanwhile is comprised of 18 seniors from Pensacola Catholic, East Hill Christian, Escambia, Northview, Pensacola, PCA, Pine Forest, Tate, Washington and West Florida Tech and coached by Pensacola’s Kerry Clarke.
Entry to the SUBWAY High School All-Star Volleyball Game is $8 at the door. Kids 13 and under wearing a jersey will get in free if accompanied by an adult.