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Suwannee High School looks to make volleyball comeback

Posted at 6:56 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 18:56:37-04

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — The Suwannee High School volleyball team won a district title in 2016, their first District title since the early 1990s.

While volleyball hasn't historically been what the Bulldogs are known for, that's changing with a new head coach and a new mindset.

State championship banners line the walls of Suwannee High School's gym, relics of the past that show the dominance of Bulldog athletics.

"The culture is the most important thing for me," said Laura Kinsel, the head volleyball coach at Suwannee High.

It's the culture Kinsel wants to change when it comes to Bulldog volleyball.

"Because we are such a rural area, it just hasn't been something they've been around," Kinsel said. "It's not something they grew up playing."

"Coach Laura is trying to bring us together and make us a better team altogether and make us more known," said Natalie Robinson, a rising junior at Suwannee High.

Kinsel took over the reins of the program in 2018. Now entering her third season at Suwannee, things are definitely different.

"The way we play, it's really positive and stuff."

"She goes out of her way to do everything for us."

"We're really getting out there and getting more people wanting to play."

Support is growing.

"Year one, we only had 19 show up to tryouts," Kinsel said. "Last year, we had 28. This year at tryouts, we're looking at 40 to 50 girls show up."

With support, comes excitement this program hasn't felt consistently in a while.

Kinsel is starting a clinic for youth this fall and she started hosting open gyms for middle school athletes last fall, all things she hopes will get more kids involved with volleyball in Live Oak.

The Bulldogs return to the state playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, but the first time this century as a district champ.