Over the past 10 years, Lee County preseason high school volleyball conversations centered around four programs.
Bishop Verot, Fort Myers and either Canterbury or Evangelical Christian School garnered the accolades and attention, and deservedly so.
The Cypress Lake Panthers are hoping to insert themselves into the mix this year and in years to come.
“Fort Myers is the top program, very well-coached and disciplined and mature on the court,” said second-year Cypress Lake coach Jessica Thornton, who moved to the school last year from Gibsonton East Bay High.
Not since the late 1990s, when Cypress Lake won five consecutive district titles and made a 1999 playoff run to the Class 4A state title game, have the Panthers held such promise. Cypress, coached then by Rick Hubbard, fell to Jacksonville Bishop Kenny in the championship game. Cypress Lake won a volleyball state title in 1982.
Thornton, adjusted to her new surroundings, has 10 seniors with whom to work this season.
Seven of the 10 seniors have started since their freshman year, and they played together on club teams prior to that.
?We all know each other really well,? said senior setter and team co-captain Emily Keim. ?They know what?s going to happen. They can read my language.?
They have improved each season, from winning four games as freshmen to 12 as sophomores to posting a 17-8 record last season as juniors.
?We build each year together,? said outside hitter Brooke Snyderman and co-captain. ?We trust each other on the court.?
Only a district tournament loss to Riverdale kept the Panthers from reaching the Class 4A state playoffs last season. Cypress Lake also has to contend with perennial power Fort Myers.
?Our reasonable goal is to get to the state tournament,? said Alli LaBerge, an outside hitter and co-captain with Keim and Snyderman. ?We want to compete with the high-level teams.?
To attain that goal, many of the Panthers, including LaBerge, spent their summer sharpening skills in beach tournaments, traveling to Clearwater, Fort Lauderdale and Siesta Key for competition.
The Panthers compete in the 10-team District 4A-11 also comprised of Baker, Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers, Lemon Bay, Mariner, North Fort Myers, Riverdale and South Fort Myers.
?I don?t want to sound too cocky, but the only two teams we?re worried about are Riverdale and Fort Myers,? Keim said. ?I think it would take a lot to beat Fort Myers. It would take our best game from everyone to beat them. We would really have to be on top of our game.?
Hurricane Earl is moving to the west-northwest near 15 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next day or so.
A turn to the northwest is expected by early Tuesday.
On this path, the center of Earl will pass near or over the northernmost Leeward Islands early Monday and near the British Virgin Islands later in the day.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread across the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Monday, with hurricane conditions possible Monday night.
Three dropped or bobbled passes by Cape Coral senior receiver Prince Holloway on Saturday evening had his new coach Brad Metheny wondering about his top offensive threat.
But with 51.6 seconds remaining, Holloway put some of his coach’s concerns to rest.
Holloway caught a pass in the open field from senior quarterback Bryan Greenwell and then sprinted into the Dave Warkentin Field end zone for a 49-yard touchdown reception.
Two plays later, time ran out on the Riverdale Raiders, who had to settle for a 20-20 tie with the Cape Coral Seahawks in a preseason game that began 22.5 hours after it was originally scheduled because of heavy rain and poor field conditions.
Both coaches were just happy to get a full game in following a week of rain-shortened practices. Rain and lightning threatened again at halftime, but a 30-minute delay later, the second half began with Cape Coral still trying to get the ball in Holloway’s hands.
“He’s one of the fastest kids in the area,” Riverdale coach Rob Hinson.
“For our defense to contain him for as long as it did, I’m happy about that. He just happened to break it with 50 seconds left in the game.
“If he gets some touches, he can break it at any time.”
Holloway caught six passes for 107 yards and the game-tying touchdown. He also scored on an 8-yard reverse with 5:07 remaining in the second quarter with Cape Coral trailing 14-7.
Greenwell completed 10-of-22 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Riverdale junior quarterback Jeff Colton, who shook off a vicious hit in which his helmet flew off, took command after completing a 24-yard pass to senior Roderick Lindsey for a 7-0 lead with 55 second remaining in the first quarter.
Colton struck again early in the second quarter, firing a 5-yard pass to senior David Klimaszewski for a 14-0 lead that impressed Hinson.
“He loves it,” Hinson said of Colton’s physical style of play. Colton rushed eight times for 54 yards. He completed 9-of-17 passes for 98 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
“He’s 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He works hard in the weight room. He matches up with linebackers. He is stepping up. He is starting to take charge. He showed some maturity out there.”
Both teams had trouble getting their running games going. Cape sophomore T.J. Johnson rushed for 43 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown, on 11 carries. Riverdale junior Levi Sourinha rushed for 27 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown, on 10 carries.
Cape Coral coach Brad Metheny praised his defense, in particular senior linebacker Chris Johnson (interception, half a sack), senior Josh Monteagudo, Andrew Iverson, Shaq Edwards and Mark Bailer.
“They made plays,” Metheny said. “Johnson’s interception was huge.”
Riverdale 7 7 0 6 – 20
Cape Coral 0 7 0 13 – 20
Riverdale: Roderick Lindsey 24 pass from Jeff Colton (Mark DeBoy kick)
Riverdale: David Klimaszewski 5 pass from Colton (DeBoy kick)
Cape Coral: Prince Holloway 8 run (Johnathan Ramirez kick)
Cape Coral: T.J. Johnson 5 run (run failed)
Riverdale: Levi Sourinha 4 run (kick blocked)
Cape Coral: Holloway 49 pass from Greenwell (Ramirez kick)
Gulf Coast High athletic director Jose Arias keeps waiting for Frank Tudryn to walk into his office.
New Sharks coach Andrew Miranti finds himself looking for Tudryn’s car at times.
Gulf Coast quarterback Darby McCormick sees a cart on the high school field and, for a second, he thinks it’s coach T.
And when Pam Tudryn is working at the high school, she expects her husband to come walking down the hall or into her classroom.
But what she’ll miss the most are those Friday nights when Frank Tudryn would be walking on that football sideline, a list of plays in his left hand, his right on his hip.
“We’ve done this for 40 years,” Pam Tudryn said, a tear falling down her face.
Gulf Coast’s Shark Stadium was renamed Thursday night in honor of former coach Frank Tudryn, who died in May after a fight with cancer.
Rain and lightning forced the event to move indoors, but that didn’t dampen the mood in the slightest.
Gulf Coast fans held their annual tailgate and pep rally before the dedication. The band played, cheerleaders kept the gym loud and yells went up for the players and coaches.
Because of football and family obligations, Pam Tudryn’s family couldn’t make the dedication.
As she walked to midcourt, Miranti had his arm around her. She told him she was nervous.
“But when they told me I didn’t have to speak, I relaxed,” she said.
Arias gave her a kiss, tears coming down his face.
“It’s been a tough time here,” he said. “Frank’s meant a lot.”
Besides naming the field after Tudryn – a name which will be shown on the back of the press box – players will have FET on their helmets, which stands for Frank Edward Tudryn.
As the Sharks enter games this season, they will touch a rock before heading onto the field. On the rock will be a plaque with Tudryn’s picture.
For now, there’s a temporary plaque. It states:
A teacher of life both in the classroom and on the field.
A strong leader who pioneered our program and to all he would say, “Finish strong.”
Gulf Coast will christen Tudryn Field with a game against Miami Ferguson tonight.
To report a crime or suspicious activity in your neighborhood, call the Naples Police and Fire Department at 213-4844, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 774-4434, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office 239-477-1000 or the Marco Island Police Department at 389-5050.
Domestic assault arrest
? Christopher Trimboli, 48, of 4117 Dale Ave., East Naples, was arrested by Collier deputies Wednesday at his home. He was charged with grabbing the neck of his live-in girlfriend, throwing her onto the couch, pulling her hair and grabbing her shirt.
? Lesly Rosales, 17, of an unlisted address, was arrested by Naples police Wednesday in the 400 block of 10th Street N. She was charged aggravated battery after police reported she used a closed fist to punch a pregnant woman in the stomach.
? Edmund Lawrence Craig, 65, of the 200 block of Madison Drive, Naples, was arrested Wednesday by Lee deputies near Bonita Beach Road and U.S. 41 South in Bonita Springs. He was charged with DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or above.
? ?John Michael Brown, 28, of an unknown address on Holly Avenue, East Naples, was arrested Wednesday by Collier deputies at the intersection of Bayshore Drive and Jeepers Avenue. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, Xanax, possession of no more than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of narcotic equipment.
? ?Linda Marie Gealy, 50, of the 10000 block of River Drive, Bonita Springs, was arrested Wednesday by Lee deputies at the Sheriff’s Office Substation, 8951 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs. She was charged with trafficking opium.
? ?Ginny Lynn Moyer, 40, of the 9000 block of San Carlos Boulevard, Fort Myers, was arrested Wednesday by Lee deputies near College Parkway and Whiskey Creek Boulevard in Fort Myers. She was charged with violation of probation on an opium charge, driving with a suspended license and two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.
? ?Brook S. Auguste, 18, of 5302 Confederate Drive, East Naples, was arrested Wednesday by Marco police at 129 Cyrus Street. He was charged with burglary of an unoccupied vehicle and theft, after the owner said someone stole a $100 phone from the car at 128 Clyburn St.
Police Beat is compiled and written by the Naples Daily News staff/ contributors from oral and written reports by Naples police, Collier Sheriff‘s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Marco police and other agencies. Arrests indicate suspicion of crime, not guilt.