Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Takeaways from Santa Fe win over Trinity Catholic

They are two volleyball teams with aspirations of FHSAA state championships. But, right now, they are in different places.

One match in and defending Class 4A champ Santa Fe had the look of a group that would be ready if the playoffs began next week. Meanwhile, after falling 25-15, 25-22, 25-18 to the visiting Raiders on Tuesday night, 2020 Class 3A champ (and state semifinalist a year ago) Trinity Catholic has some work to do.

But, it is just August, and November is when it all matters most.

“It was a good start for us,” Santa Fe coach Eric Marshall said. “We did a lot well against a very good opponent. And (the Celtics) made me nervous because of their talent.”

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Trinity coach Jeff Reavis missed his middle, and she’s really good,” Marshall said of injured Rose Gravel. “They are going to look different when they come to our place (on Oct. 13).”

Here are takeaways from the match.

Santa Fe Miss Volleyball Jalyn Stout faces friendly foes

Santa Fe High's Jalyn Stout (7), center, celebrates with her teammate after scoring a point in the first set at Trinity Catholic on Tuesday, Aug. 23, in Ocala.

The Florida Dairy Farmers’ 2021 Miss Volleyball recipient Jalyn Stout had a dominant performance for the Raiders, collecting 21 kills and three blocks.

The left-handed 5-foot-10 Coastal Carolina commitment showed power with a few kills that found the floor with expedience and also played cerebrally by tipping home numerous dinks when the Celtics put up a good block.

“She’s an elite player,” Reavis said. “She’s such a competitor.”

An outside hitter, Stout is also very familiar with many of the Celtics.

Stout said she is friends with Trinity’s Amelia Fitzpatrick, McKenna Yates, Kiana Laborde and Isabella Basile, and she played for Reavis this past summer on the state’s High Performance team.

“We went to Tulsa together, and some of the highest-rated players in the country were there,” Reavis said. “She was right there with them.”

Stout said there is a “different feeling” as defending state champs, knowing that opponents will be extra motivated to beat their team.

She said that opening the season at a traditional power brought butterflies.

“We were all super-nervous coming in,” said Stout, whose team finished 29-3 in 2021. “We usually play Trinity Catholic in the preseason, and this year it was our first match.

“They always knew have great seasons, so we they would be tough.”

Does being the reigning Miss Volleyball make Stout feel like a target? She said she doesn’t “think about that much”, but agreed her usage of the word “much” did mean that, naturally, it hasn’t completely vanished from her mind.

“I’d be ecstatic and I’d love to win it again,” Stout said. “It was such an honor. I’m extremely grateful for winning it last year.”

Can Raiders be better than they were in 2021?

Santa Fe's Miya Thomas digs one out for her team in the first set against Trinity Catholic on Tuesday night, Aug. 23, 2022 at Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala.

Stout went back to the word “different” when comparing last season’s team to this one.

The Raiders do have four starters and six of nine rotation players back, according to Marshall, but Stout was cautious when discussing the future.

“It’s different,” Stout said. “We were amazing last year and could be again, but we lost (MB) Rylie (Tam), (OH) Faith (Marquis) and (DS) Cam (Bendel), and they did a lot for us. The expectations are high, though.”

Marshall did add that while a lot of what happened at TC was good, he would like to see another hitter emerge — “We are going to wear Jalyn out, otherwise” — better serve-receive and fewer service errors.

“We missed five serves, three at the end of Game Two, which we were lucky to win because of it,” Marshall said.

Like Trinity, this match was played in part to prepare for the 76-team NIKE Tournament of Champions, taking place in two weekends in Orlando.

“We wanted to go up against some talented, bigger players before that,” Marshall said. “That’s also a reason why we are hosting (Sarasota) Cardinal Mooney (with 6-foot-4 Texas commitment Jordyn Byrd) on Saturday.”

A closer look at the Celtics

Trinity Catholic McKenna Yates (5) returns a volley in the first set.  Trinity Catholic lost to Santa Fe Tuesdaym Aug. 23, 2022 at Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala.

Fitzpatrick, Laborde and Yates all were starters two seasons ago on the 3A champs and felt the ache of losing in five sets at eventual champ Clearwater Calvary Christian in last year’s state semifinals.

“It was painful, really hard on all of us,” Yates said last month.

Reavis said he didn’t feel like his team was very competitive against Santa Fe, adding that even in the second set where Trinity led 20-19 at one point that it was more that the Raiders “let us hang around.”

He said he was happy with the play of two of his newcomers, Belleview transfer Hope Willis and Avery Campise, who recently moved to the area from Geneva, Ill., about 30 minutes from Chicago.

Reavis added he’d like to see better performances in the future from the returning standouts off last season’s 24-5 regional champs.

Three-sport star Rose Gravel hurt

Rose Gravel, center, holds her hand over her heart during the playing of the National Anthem with teammates Marisol Perez (1), left, and Maddie Hewitson (3), right.

After the match Rose Gravel said she injured her left PCL about two weeks ago at a basketball camp. She said she hopes to return in approximately four or five weeks.

A 6-foot junior, Gravel was first-team all-county last year in volleyball, flag football and basketball, where she was named the Star-Banner’s player of the year.

Prior to the match she was hitting a ball against a wall and appeared to be moving without a limp. However, in a sport like volleyball that requires a lot of quick jumping, as well as a great deal of lateral movement, returning to full or near-full strength from a knee injury — and not too soon — is a necessity.

Gravel’s counterpart for Santa Fe, 6-1 junior Joselynn Sanjurjo, was effective in the middle, knocking down 11 kills in 16 attempts.

“Rose is a huge piece for us,” Reavis said.

looking ahead

In addition to Stout, Santa Fe (1-0) has a college commitment in Anisa Dorlouis (Maryland Eastern Shore), who had 15 digs and 15 assists against the Celtics (0-1).

For Trinity, outside hitter/setter Fitzpatrick has committed to Flagler, and libero McKenna Yates, still just a junior, has committed to Mississippi State.

But, for now, all of them have the high school season in front of them with Vanguard visiting TC on Thursday and Buchholz traveling to Santa Fe the same night.

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