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Moore Haven volleyball loaded with Seminole connections, optimism

It didn’t take long for Mona Baker to find plenty of reasons to be optimistic as she began her first season as head coach of the Moore Haven High School varsity volleyball team. Baker was thrilled with the number of girls who attended tryouts for the high school and middle school teams in August.

“Tryouts ran very smoothly,” said Baker, who was an assistant varsity coach last season. “We had 46 girls come out in grades 6 to 12, an amazing turnout. The principal, athletic directors, superintendent and several parents sat in as well.”

The numbers received a boost from some Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School students who are able to play for Moore Haven because PECS’ volleyball season was cancelled for the second straight fall due to the pandemic. (Some other PECS students are playing for other middle schools in the area).

The impressive participation means Moore Haven has enough players to field four teams. Ten players each are on varsity, junior varsity and the middle school’s “A” team while 13 players comprise the middle school “B” team.

All four teams have Seminole connections, starting with Baker, who is married to tribal member and Moore Haven varsity head boys basketball coach Preston Baker. The middle school “B” team is led by coach and tribal member Dallas Nunez.

“This year [we’re] only two practices in and the girls already know how to move to base positions,” Baker said. “We will work on running a 5-1 and 6-2 rotation. The varsity team is well rounded with eager players. JV is also catching on and have some eager, well rounded athletes. Our middle school A team is also going to be a force to face. And our B team will get all the fundamentals needed from coach Dallas.”

As for players from the tribe, Baker’s daughter Preslynn and Summer Gopher are both back for their second seasons on varsity while Ayana Fonseca also made varsity. Miley Jimmie is on the JV team, but Baker said she has the ability to play on the varsity level.

Both middle school teams feature Seminole players, including the “A” team’s Tahnia Billie, Aaryn King, Joelyene Nunez, Tehya Nunez and Illa Trueblood, and the “B” team’s Laylah Billie, Mohayla Billie, Marley Jimmie and Bobbi Johns.

Remaining varsity and JV schedule (subject to change; JV starts at 5:30 p.m., varsity at 7 p.m., except where noted)
Sept. 9 at Gateway Charter
Sept. 13 home vs Clewiston
Sept. 16 home vs Gateway Charter
Sept. 21 home vs Community Christian (5 p.m. varsity only)
Sept. 28 at Sebring
Oct. 4 home vs Glades Day
Oct. 5 home vs SW Florida Christian
Oct. 7 at SW Florida Christian
Oct. 12 at Community Christian School (5 p.m. varsity only)

Middle school schedule (subject to change)
Sept. 9 at West Glades 4 p.m. (B), 5 p.m. (A)
Sept. 14 at LaBelle Middle 4 p.m. (B), 5 p.m. (A)
Sept. 20 at Clewiston Middle 5 p.m. (B), 6 p.m. (A)
Oct. 4 home vs Clewiston Middle 4 p.m. (B), 5 p.m. (A)
Oct. 5 home vs West Glades 4 p.m. (B), 5 p.m. (A)
Oct. 7 home vs LaBelle Middle 4 p.m. (B), 5 p.m. (A)

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