Wellington’s Beach Volleyball Girls Post Early Season Wins

WHS Beach Volleyball Team — (Front row) Kristin Haggerty, Faith DiMaria, Madeline Lee, Jillian St Leger and Isabella Mariani; (middle row) Olivia Roque, Londyn Clark, Gabriella Marotta and Ella Safriet; and (back row) Maddie Martinez, Grace Kouf, Julianna Nunes, Ava Rodgers, Nicole Koch, Brielle Dorish and Carley Treanor. Photo by Tracey Kouf

Wellington High School’s girls varsity beach volleyball team is off to a solid start in the current spring season. Under the guidance of head coach Sergio Rios, the squad has a record of 5-2.

Wellington is in first place — with a 2-0 record — in its local district standings. The district includes the King’s Academy, Dr. Joaquín García High School, Palm Beach Central High School, Trinity Christian School, Lake Worth Christian School, John I. Leonard High School and Santaluces High School.

Of Wellington’s five victories, four of them have been against schools in the western communities. Palm Beach Central, TKA, Seminole Ridge and Royal Palm Beach High School have all been defeated by the Wolverines this season.

According to Rios, now in his third year coaching the team, the makeup of the squad is a mixture of experienced upperclassmen and young, talented lowerclassmen. This year’s team has nine returning players and seven incoming freshmen.

Beach volleyball has only been an official Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sport since the 2021-22 school year.

The most experienced players for Wellington include junior Brielle Dorish, junior Madeline Lee, senior Ava Rodgers and junior Grace Kouf. Rodgers was the captain of the girls indoor volleyball team last fall.

“Our two-person teams change constantly according to the opponent, but Brielle and Madeline are undefeated so far as our No. 1 team this season,” Rios said.

Wellington’s bench is filled with talented players, such as sophomore Faith DiMaria, sophomore Gabriella Marotta, sophomore Nicole Koch and freshman Jillian St Leger.

“They have shown great results and team spirit,” Rios said.

Rios added that the key to the success of his squad is being able to blend his team’s natural athletic abilities with a focused mental strategy.

“During this season’s matches, we are focusing on team play and how to play smarter volleyball,” Rios explained. “Beach volleyball demands a lot of physical effort, so by playing smarter, we are able to use our energy more efficiently. And by learning to play as a team, we are able to support each other when we need it the most.”

Wellington will resume play after spring break. Its next match will be on March 27 at home against Suncoast High School.