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Beach volleyball player of the year: Kate Taylor, King’s Academy senior

King’s Academy senior Kate Taylor was a leader both on and off the sand for the Lions beach volleyball team this past season.

Taylor, who partnered with freshman Britain Taylor (no relation) for the past two seasons on Line 1, proceeded to win 38 consecutive matches over two years before falling this year in the FHSAA state quarterfinals. The duo won their opening game, 21-13 before falling 21-18 and 15-9 to lose the opening position in three games to Vero Beach, 3-2.

King’s Academy (19-1) had earned a No. 2 state ranking behind two-time defending state champion New Smyrna Beach and was ranked No. 6 nationally. Vero Beach (15-2) was ranked No. 7 in the country.

“Beach volleyball is quite different from indoor, it is more of a chess match rather than checkers,” said Taylor, who played defender and split blocker for King’s as she played an integral role in starting the program two years ago. “It is more of a mental game and takes more energy and mental focus to get a point.”

Taylor, who played indoor volleyball in her freshman and sophomore years, is the school record holder for most wins in a beach volleyball season and she was team captain in her junior and senior years when they won districts and also qualified for state.

Taylor, who shared the Sun Sentinel beach volleyball player of the year honor last year with St. Thomas Aquinas senior Alyssa McBean, said she was most proud of not only excelling on the court as a team by having an undefeated regular season but giving back to her community.

The University of Louisiana Monroe D1 signee plans on studying pre-Med (optometry) and said her career highlight came against Wellington in a state play-in match and they had to rally in the third set to advance to state.

King’s Academy beach volleyball coach Rachael Perla said Taylor would be “greatly missed” next season.

“Kate has been a crucial part of the culture and success of our team the last two years,” Perla said. “Not only has her athletic ability helped us be successful on the court, but her thoughtfulness and loving personality have helped build a culture of family and unity off the court.”

Other top players from around the county included: Archbishop McCarthy: Celimar Hoyos, Danika Pachas; Benjamin: Payton Bryan, Tully Martin: Boca Raton: Jada Goodwin, Bella Troncale; Boca Raton Christian: Bradee Boyd, Mackenzi VanZwieten; Calvary Christian Academy: Valentina Casale, Lexi Weinberg; Cardinal Gibbons: Hope Faust, Ava Flores; Chaminade-Madonna: Sofia Silva, Lara Zima; Dwyer: Corrinne Cabrera, Samantha Kepple; Jupiter: Jordan Guarneri, Macy McAmis; Jupiter Christian: Emma Pledger, Lauren Rice; Lake Worth Christian: Sara Montero, Abby Toeniskoetter; North Broward Prep: Riley Dynan, Aubrey Sheppard; Olympic Heights: Ava Bryan Anika Rosenblatt; Palm Beach Central: Darby Glenn, Olivia Rohack; Palm Beach Gardens: Sara Inman, Sailor Plasman; Park Vista: Katelyn Nadeau, Kadence Roche; Royal Palm Beach: Jenna Larsen, Jadyn Mainolfi; Santaluces: Kassandra Gibson: Alyssa Jennings; Somerset Canyons: Kaley Board, Madelyn Risely; South Plantation: Elana Lam, Analysse Stockton; Spanish River:Alexis Kremposky, Gabby Moravick; St. Thomas Aquinas: Halley Tang, Zoe Taylor; Suncoast: Alana Joiner, Kalei Joiner; Trinity Christian: Luciana Lecca, Nataliya Lopez; Wellington: Brielle Dorish, Madison Lee; West Boca Raton: Anais Santos-Buch, Anika Santos-Buch; Western: Kally Aceto, Isabelle Martinez.

Kate Taylor
Kate Taylor, Beach Volleyball, King’s Academy. (Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel)

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