LARGO — A dream team.
Easy to coach.
When asked what it was like to be the coach for each squad of the Pinellas County Senior All-Star volleyball match Saturday, Canterbury coach John Milkovich and Northeast coach Amanda McGowan were identical in their sentiments.
"They're like a dream team," said Milkovich, who was the coach for the Red squad that included Palm Harbor University's Leah McNary, East Lake's Lauran Eschenroeder, and Indian Rocks Christian's Marisa Moralobo. "You don't have to explain the little things to them. They just know what to do, so you can be advanced in your coaching style."
That talent was displayed as the Red, behind McNary's 24 kills and Moralobo's 15, claimed an 18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 victory over the Black team.
"It was really neat to play with players that you're usually rivals with throughout the regular season," said McNary, who is headed to Creighton on scholarship. "I actually was really nervous. I don't think I loosened up until the third game. And then, I was messing up in the last set; I just wanted to help the team win."
McNary helped the Red reclaim the lead at 23-22 in the winning set with a ferocious kill set up by Clearwater's Kayley Patrick, who had a match-high 45 assists. The Red won the match three points later on a slicing kill by Eschenroeder.
Northside Christian's Jennica Mullins had 16 kills, but the Black was unable to capitalize on its 1-0 set lead.
McNary had two kills to close out the second set, and Moralobo finished the third set with a kill.
"It was pretty fun, because a lot of us play on the same club team, and tonight we were actually playing against each other," said Mullins, who will play next year at Winthrop University. "We were smack-talking a bit, so it made things fun."
McNary was named the Most Valuable Player for the Red and Countryside libero Christina Berry was the Black team MVP.
"They're just so well-trained that it made it easy to instruct," McGowan said. "… It was like coaching a superior club team."