Merritt Island Mustangs Volleyball Has Another Great Season, Future Looks Bright For Mustangs
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Assistant Editor // November 17, 2016
MUSTANGS FINISH 20-5, 7TH IN BHS POLL
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Every great team and coach has one team that becomes a nemesis, a thorn in the side of great seasons. For Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, that team was the New York Giants, who beat them twice in the Super Bowl, once ending a perfect 17-0 season.
For the Merritt Island Mustangs and their great head coach Angie Patrick, that team has become the Bishop Moore Hornets. In three of the past four seasons the No.1 ranked Hornets have ousted the Lady Mustangs from postseason play with three straight set wins.
However, losing to the Hornets is nothing to hang your head about. Bishop Moore is ranked No. 8 in the nation by PrepVolleyball and they swept Ponte Vedra to win their fourth state championship in five seasons last week.
The Mustangs won the state title in 2011.
Merritt Island gave the Hornets all they could handle in their match on October 28. The Mustangs lost the three sets by a combined 12-points (25-19, 25-21, 26-24). Conversely, in winning the state 5A title, Bishop Moore defeated Ponte Verde in straight sets by a combined 26-points.
Coach Patrick is a Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame inductee and has much to proud with her 2016 team.
The Mustangs finished ranked seventh in the Bright House Sports final volleyball poll of the season and won their 11th straight district championship and added another conference championship.
Patrick graduates six seniors but has a solid core of players returning in 2017.
One of those graduating seniors is Alyssa Zwolensky, who signed with Lipscomb University this week to play volleyball and will graduate early next month.
Zwolensky is a former Friday Night Locker Room player of the game award winner and will try to crack a tough Bisons roster that plays Division I volleyball in the Atlantic Sun Conference
Located in the Music City of Nashville, Tennessee, the Bisons finished 2016 with a 20-7 overall record and were 13-1 in conference play. They are the defending ASUN tourney champions and the No.1 seed heading into this year’s tournament.
Tied for first on her team with 76 sets played, Zwolensky is great all around player. She finished the season first on the Mustangs with 170 digs and was second on the team in kills with 203. Her serving was also an assett, as she served up 39 aces in 2016.
As mentioned above the great core of players returning for Merritt Island includes a trio of players that will be juniors next season. Lexy Denaburg, Shae Henson and Jasmin Sayre.
Denaburg, who is already at the top of many prominent D1 schools lists, led the team with an astounding 344 kills this season (now over 500 for her career) and was second on the team with 51 service aces and 144 digs.
Denaburg had 15 plus kills in 13 of 27 matches this past season. Another returning sophomore for coach Patrick is Shae Henson.
Henson also played 76 sets and led the team with 61 service aces and nearly eight assists per game.
Jasmine Sayre played in 69 sets and will return with her excellent serve and ball handling skills. She was among the team leaders with 118 digs and 49 aces.
Freshman Bobbie Jo Schwantz and Junior Loren Farrow combined to lead the Mustangs with 45 blocks this year, also return.
ABOVE VIDEO: Angie Patrick, Merritt Island Volleyball head coach, Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame 2014
FINAL 2016 BRIGHT HOUSE SPORTS VOLLEYBALL RANKINGS:
1. Bishop Moore (29-1) – Hornets, ranked No. 8 in the nation by PrepVolleyball, swept Ponte Vedra to win their fourth state championship in five seasons.
2. Oviedo (26-4) – Fantastic postseason run for the Lions ended with a frustrating performance against Boca Raton in the 9A championship match.
3. First Academy (26-4) – Royals won their sixth state championship by sweeping North Palm Beach Benjamin to take the 4A title.
4. Hagerty (18-4) – Huskies advanced to the region finals for the first time in program history before losing to eventual state runner-up Tampa Plant.
5. West Orange (23-3) – Warriors advanced to the region finals for the second consecutive season and project to return 12 of their 14 players.
6. Lake Highland (20-9) – Highlanders got to the 5A state championship match but suffered a gut wrenching five set loss to Miami Westminster Christian.
7. Merritt Island (20-5) – Mustangs’ season ended at the hands of Bishop Moore in the region semifinals for the second straight year.
8. Spruce Creek (20-5) – Hawks are 47-6 in the last two seasons and will have their leading hitter Lindsey Pliapol back in the fold next year.
9. Lake Mary (16-8) – Four of eight losses for the Rams came against teams that played in state championship matches.
10. Dr. Phillips (19-8) – Panthers exceeded expectations by getting to 19 wins and advancing to the 9A regional tournament.
Best of the Rest:
11. Olympia (15-10)
12. Lake Nona (15-9)
13. Boone (16-10)
14. Montverde Academy (20-6)
15. Trinity Prep (22-4)
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY SPORTS