ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
State titles become specialty for Lafayette, O'Steen
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
For years, Lafayette volleyball coach Sonya Land has known Lindsay O'Steen would much rather be throwing a strike than swatting a kill.
The top player on Class 1A's top volleyball team the last two years, O'Steen has rivaled her successes on the court during her senior season only by her previous triumphs outside on the softball diamond.
Last Friday, the Hornets won their second straight state title in volleyball, and, once again, Land fielded the same questions and letters from college coaches interested in her team's leading hitter.
“It's all softball,” Land said. “I think she enjoys volleyball and loves to play it, but at the end of the day that's what she really wants to do in her next four years of college.”
Though O'Steen had a team-high 49 kills in Lafayette's final two playoff games, including 17 kills along with 17 digs in a 3-0 state final sweep of Liberty County, she likely will be signing with a college softball team within the month, according to Land.
A powerful hitter and pitcher, O'Steen also led the Hornets to a state championship in softball last season and will try for her fourth overall title earned in high school during the spring.
“These girls just have a heart to win,” Land said. “You can just see it. I think you can be good and love it but you got to have that heart and drive to just be a winner. And that's what's this group is, and it's shown the last two years.”
While Land believes O'Steen could easily make the jump to play volleyball at the next level, the senior hitter's versatility is something that has allowed Lafayette to string together 45 consecutive victories stretching back to last season.
O'Steen played primarily at setter a year ago before Land decided to get her more involved in finishing the attack this season.
The move paid off as O'Steen led her team with 447 kills, more than triple the amount (143) she had last year.
“Even from last year to this year, I can see her being a lot more powerful and dominant,” Land said. “She was just a lot more sure of herself.”
LYDIA LAND, LAFAYETTE: A junior libero, Land had 65 digs in the Hornets' two Class 1A playoff victories last week, including 29 digs in Lafayette's 25-8, 25-19, 25-22 sweep of Liberty County in the state final.
SIR JACKSON, EASTSIDE: Jackson added another stellar performance to his already impressive senior campaign by scoring four total touchdowns in the Ram's 37-0 win Friday against Holiday Anclote in the Class 5A playoffs. At quarterback, Jackson completed 3 of 9 passes for 72 yards and had three rushing touchdowns along with 72 yards on the ground. On defense, he had a pair of interceptions, including one returned for a 37-yard touchdown.
GRACE BLAIR, OAK HALL: A seventh-grader, Blair led the Eagles to their first-ever state title on Saturday with a personal-best 5K time of 18:58.76 to finish sixth overall out of 182 runners. Oak Hall previously finished in second overall as the team the last two years at the Class 1A championship meet.
MATT TAMAYO, GAINESVILLE: The junior 132-pounder won his weight class in the Clash of the Titans tournament held at Orange City's University High School. Tamayo pinned a Merritt Island wrestler in the first period to earn the season-opening victory.
MARIAH CARTER, HAWTHORNE: The senior center scored 31 points, hauled in 22 rebounds and blocked 6 shots last week in the Hornets' pair of victories against Chiefland and Williston.
TAYLOR MARTIN, SANTA FE: After a 1-4 start to the season, the Raiders' girls soccer team's attack finally clicked last week behind Martin and fellow freshman Briana Thomas. A freshman, Martin had a total of 6 goals along with 3 assists in a pair of 5-1 wins against Interlachen and St. Francis.
ANTHONY BURCH, EASTSIDE: The senior defensive end notched 12 tackles and 4 sacks in the Ram's 37-0 playoff win against Holiday Anclote. Burch also had 2 forced fumbles and a pass breakup
MARK CATO, GAINESVILLE: The Hurricanes' senior quarterback completed 10 of 11 passes for 195 yards and five total touchdowns during Gainesville's 60-3 win against Hernando in the Class 6A, Region 2 quarterfinals.
ALEX GONZALES, GAINESVILLE: The senior linebacker registered 10 tackles, three sacks and an interception return for a touchdown during the top-ranked Hurricanes' 60-3 first round playoff win against Hernando.
LINDSAY ROSENBERG, OAK HALL: The fifth Eagles runner to cross the finish line at Saturday's Class 1A state championship meet, Rosenberg provide the crucial final points to lift Oak Hall to a team title. A sixth-grader, Rosenberg finished 30th overall with a personal-record run of 20:25.97, which was more than a minute faster than her previous top time.
JOHN DOUGHERTY, BUCHHOLZ: In his first trip to the Class 4A state championship meet on Saturday, Daugherty finished 23rd overall with a 5K run of 16:19.81 at Apalachee Regional Park.
ISABELLA WHELAN, BUCHHOLZ: The sophomore ran to a 44th-place finish in 20:03.33 on Saturday at the Class 4A state championship meet.
THOMAS HERLEVICH, GAINESVILLE: A 145-pound senior, Herlevich took home first place in his division at the Clash of the Titans tournament by earning 2 technical falls and a major decision against a wrestler from Flagler Palm Coast.
BRIANA THOMAS, SANTA FE: Thomas, a left midfielder, scored 3 goals and dished out 3 assists in Santa Fe's two victories against Interlachen and Santa Fe.
ARRIC WALI, SANTA FE: A junior striker, Wali scored three combined goals last week in the Raiders' boys team's 7-1 win against Interlachen and in a 2-2 tie with Eastside.
JORGE GARCIA, SANTA FE: The senior forward assisted on a pair of goals and scored two of his own last week for the Raiders against Interlachen and Eastside.
KIMESHA MANN, HAWTHORNE: A freshman guard, Mann scored 29 points and dished 10 assists in two wins last week for the Hornets.
Athletes of the week are determined by nominations from area coaches. Coaches are asked to call in (374-5050) every Sunday between 4-7 p.m.
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