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Suwannee’s Abigail Kelley (4) and Montayasia Jones, vying for a block last season, are among a strong group of seniors that will lead the Bulldogs this year.

LIVE OAK, Fla. — Despite a slow start last year, the Suwannee volleyball team regrouped to make a playoff push.

That late season surge has the Bulldogs eager to head into the 2019 season, which begins Tuesday at Union County. Suwannee’s home opener will be Aug. 15 against Fort White.

“We’re looking really good,” coach Laura Kinsel said. “I have a good group of girls with good attitudes and they work hard. So we’re looking forward to a good season.

“I think we are just going to keep that motivation and that momentum and we’re just going to carry it through the season.”

Suwannee doesn’t just want to return to the playoffs but with a new district home in Class 4A’s District 2, the Bulldogs are hoping for more: a district title. Joining the Bulldogs in the district are Gadsden County, Godby, Marianna and Santa Fe. Wakulla, which won Suwannee’s district last year, is in Class 5A.

“Our district has changed, so we’re kind of hoping we can be at the top of districts this year,” Kinsel added. “That’s our goal.”

Also helping with that confidence is the presence of seven seniors, players that gained a wealth of experience during the Bulldogs’ 5-13 campaign a year ago with Suwannee finishing as region runner-up and earning a trip to the Class 6A postseason.

Among those experienced players SHS will be relying on are Montayasia Jones, Abigail Kelley, Victoria Marshal and Olivia Stuart. Kinsel called Jones the team’s “All-Star outside hitter” while she said Kelley flew under the radar a year ago, but will be noticed this season.

“She is dynamite this year so I know she is going to have a fantastic season,” Kinsey said.

Rounding out that experienced group of seniors are Jada Bowman, Celina Parmenter and Samantha Castillo.

Joining that experience will be two freshmen that made varsity with Kinsel excited about their futures, especially Maci Campbell.

“She is definitely one to watch the next few years because I think she is going to do some really great stuff,” Kinsel said. “I’m excited to have her.”

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