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Fond farewell for eighth-graders as season ends with shutout

Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School eighth-grader Jenna Brown delivers a serve in the team’s season finale Oct. 6 against Clewiston Middle School.
Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School eighth-grader Jenna Brown delivers a serve in the team’s season finale Oct. 6 against Clewiston Middle School.

BRIGHTON — Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School eighth-grade volleyball players concluded their varsity middle school volleyball careers Oct. 6 by receiving roses and a coach’s hug before they stamped an exclamation mark on another winning season.

The Lady Seminoles rolled past Clewiston Middle School, 2-0.

This season’s 8-2 record combined with last year’s undefeated run means Jenna Brown, Jacee Jumper, Janessa Nunez, Madisyn Osceola, Aubrey Pearce, Julia Smith and Alaina Sweat posted a 21-2 record in the past two years.

“That’s saying a lot,” said PECS varsity coach Kim Jackson, who doled out purple, red and yellow flowers to the eighth-graders and their families during a pre-match ceremony.

PECS has served as a feeder program for area high school volleyball teams and this year’s class will likely continue the trend. Three players said they will attend Moore Haven (Alaina, Julia and Jacee) and three said they will head to Okeechobee (Janessa, Aubrey and Jenna). Madisyn said she will be home-schooled but hopes to play for a high school.

“I think most of them would really like to continue. I’m excited to go see them if they do,” Jackson said.

After the ceremony, there was still work to be done on the court against Clewiston. As a tribute to her graduating players, Jackson started an all-eighth-grade lineup for the first time this season. They didn’t disappoint her.

A barrage of aces from Jacee and Alaina staked the Lady Seminoles to a 12-4 lead in game 1. Aubrey continued the hot serving streak with a series of aces to close out the game, 25-6.

Game 2 featured more serving dandies, this time from Madisyn and sixth-grader Elle Thomas, whose serves overwhelmed Clewiston. PECS won the game, 25-10.

Elle finished with a team-high six aces followed by Aubrey with five and Jacee with four and a kill. Madisyn had three aces and three kills. Alaina added three aces and Mariah Billie had two aces. Jenna had one kill.

The victory came on the heels of the team’s most impressive win of the season. A week earlier, PECS rallied to edge West Glades, 2-1, which included a 20-18 thriller in the third game.

“That was the best I’ve seen the girls play,” Jackson said.

Jacee led the team with five kills and three aces. Alaina added four kills and an ace. Madisyn had two kills. Julia contributed one kill. Elle and Aubrey each delivered three aces. Janessa had two aces and Mariah added one ace.

Being able to shift momentum in their favor during matches proved to be a character-building theme for the Lady Seminoles. The win against West Glades was the second straight match PECS won after erasing a one-game deficit. In the middle of the season, the team bounced back after consecutive losses to Yearling and West Glades to win their final five matches in a row.

“We tried, but Yearling got the best of us,” Madisyn said. “But we came back and beat them next game.”

With no seventh-graders on this year’s team, next year’s “veterans” will be the trio of this year’s sixth-graders: Elle, Mariah and Karey Gopher.

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