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Fast start for Pemayetv Emahakv volleyball as season kicks off

BRIGHTON — Similar to just about every scholastic fall sports team in the state, the Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School volleyball team’s season was interrupted by Hurricane Irma in September.

But before the big storm arrived, the Lady Seminoles opened their season with a pair of impressive wins at home against LaBelle Middle School.

“The girls have been working really hard,” varsity volleyball coach Pam Matthews said after her squad swept LaBelle 25-9, 25-10 on Sept. 5. Earlier, the junior varsity team, coached by Mary Huff, cruised past LaBelle, 25-5, 25-6.

Led by captains Karey Gopher and Elle Thomas, the varsity features plenty of experience with five eighth-graders.

Leading by example worked out well in the opener as Karey delivered four service points, one kill and had a strong defensive game as the team’s libero while Elle led the way in the hitting department with five kills.

“They lead the team at practice, in stretches, warming up. They’ve done a great job,” Matthews said.

Matthews encouraged the team to bring what they do in practice to gameday.

“I told them today to swing, hit the ball like you do in practice,” she said.

The starting lineup at the net featured Elle, her younger sister Lexi and eighth-grader Ta-fv Harris, and Karey, Giselle Micco and LaShae King in the back row.

Giselle, one of two seventh-graders on the team, has shifted from the defensive specialist spot she played last season as the libero to a hitting role this season. She delivered 18 service points – which included a blistering ace to start the match – and two kills.

“Giselle played [libero] last year and I really needed her to hit this year and set. She’s amazing at all three parts of the game,” Matthews said.

Ta-fv also shined at the net both offensively and defensively.

“Ta-fv played a fantastic net game with a huge block and two kills,” Matthews said.

Leilani Burton, another eighth-grader, had six service points.

In the JV match, Jana Johnson sparked the Lady Seminoles early by delivering 10 consecutive service points to start the match. She finished with 26 service points and one kill. Taryn Osceola added 10 service points and Tammy Martinez had a kill.

2017 PECS Varsity volleyball
Coach: Pam Matthews
1 – Lexi Thomas
2 – Nena Youngblood
3 – Giselle Micco
4 – LaShae King
6 – Karey Gopher
7 – Elle Thomas
8 – Melina Steve
11 – Leilani Burton
12 – Ta-fv Harris

Junior Varsity volleyball
Coach: Mary Huff
2 – Kalyn Hammil
3 – Angelie Melton
4 – Saniya Rodriguez
6 – Winnie Gopher
7 – Taryn Osceola
8 – Karlyne Urbina
11 – Tammy Martinez
12 – Javale Anderson
13 – Jana Johnson

Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at

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