PLANTATION KEY — “We have all been praying there was going to be a season.”
That’s according to Coral Shores High School volleyball coach Kathy Ets-Hokin, who added, “We have a lot of seniors and juniors this year, so I believe we will have a good team.”
“I’m super-excited for the team, but at the same time nervous about COVID,” said Ets-Hokin, whose squad will open the season against its county rivals hosting Marathon on Monday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m., travel to Key West on Wednesday, Sept. 23, for a 5:30 p.m. matchup and then head to the Middle Keys to take on the Dolphins on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m.
The busy opening week will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday at home against Gulliver at noon and Key West at 1:30 p.m. with the Conchs and Raiders also facing off at the Hurricanes’ gym the same day.
“I’m not about the rivalry. I really just want to do this for the kids,” Ets-Hokin said about taking on Coral Shores’ county opponents in the opening week of the season. “I have had very consistent attendance at our workouts, we really didn’t have kids missing, they wanted to be here which makes we want to put any type of schedule for them to play. During tryouts, I told them I was looking for a few key things and one of them is commitment and dedication and not necessarily skill and talent.”
A major reason for that mentality is because the Lady Canes coach has a pair of highly-devoted seniors in Riley Dobson and Elise Jordan, who have pushed the team the entire offseason.
“There are multiple colleges looking at them right now, and I want them to get a scholarship,” said Ets-Hokin, talking in terms of Jordan and Dobson.
In fact, the coach said that her program has been working out and conditioning, in safe conditions, since June.
“I think we went almost every day in the summer with a lot of strength training and yoga,” said Ets-Hokin. “I really didn’t want them in the weight room, because the football team was in there and I thought it was too many people touching the weights.”
Instead, the focus was on calisthenics with burpees, wall walks and other workouts Ets-Hokin downloaded from the internet keeping her players in shape this summer.
In that time, Ets-Hokin also stated that Zoe Meyers has turned into a dangerous offensive weapon.
“I’ve never had a kid who can hit under the 10-foot line before, but she is doing it,” said Ets-Hoskins. “She still has room to grow, but in the last year she has improved a lot.”
With the excitement surrounding the team, Ets-Hokin claimed her biggest worry entering the season is keeping abreast will all the new regulations.
“There are so many rule changes and it’s going to be interesting how this all works,” said Ets-Hokin. “We have to take the temperature of each fan and then just two fans per player.”
They were even given a cleaning product by the county to wipe down objects during practice, but that stripped the leather off 10 of the team’s volleyballs.
“It takes forever to clean everything,” said Ets-Hokin.
Nevertheless, the cleaning process is still a task the Lady ’Canes coach is willing to undertake if that means keeping her players safe and able to have a season. With that being said, Ets-Hokin also conveyed she does not expect her players to wear a mask while on the court.
“As a coach, I’m not just standing on the sidelines just talking to them, I’m hitting balls at them, I’m serving to them and I’m having to pull my mask down during practice, so I’m not sure how we are expected to do everything,” said Ets-Hokin. “But I’m willing to do whatever is needed to ensure we have a season.”