Volleyball preview: No. 9 East Lake

East Lake

At a glance

Coach: Terry Small

Class: 7A, District 7

Last season: 19-9, lost in region semifinals

Key players: MH Natalie Aniol, So.; MH Olivia Aniol, Sr.; OH Valentina Echeverri, Sr.; DS/L Kiki Provatas, So.


Thurs. Vs. Tarpon Springs, 6:30

Aug. 31 at Land O’ Lakes, 7:30

Sept. 1 vs. Countryside, 7:30

Sept. 2 at Calvary Christian, 6:30

Sept. 7 at St. Petersburg, 7:45

Sept. 8 at Osceola, 7:45

Sept. 13 at River Ridge, 6:30

Sept. 15 at Clearwater, 7

Sept. 23 vs. St. Petersburg, 7:45

Sept. 24 vs. Osceola (tournament), 4

Sept. 24 vs. St. Petersburg (tournament), 5

Sept. 25 vs. Calvary Christian, 10 a.m.

Sept. 25 vs. Berkeley Prep, 11 a.m.

Sept. 25 vs. Brooks DeBartolo, noon

Sept. 28 at Palm Harbor University, 7:30

Sept. 30 vs. Dunedin, 7:30

Oct. 1 vs. Osceola, 7

Oct. 7 vs. Largo, 7

Oct. 7 vs. Seminole, 7:30


First, the good news. The Eagles have most of their top starters returning. That list includes Olivia Aniol (300 kills, 106 blocks last season) and Valentina Echeverri (214 kills, 212 digs), who were both first team selections in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference’s North Division. Now, the bad news. East Lake stayed in 7A-7 but the district went through some major changes, adding powerhouse programs Plant and Steinbrenner, among others. That makes another playoff run challenging, but there is plenty of experience — and talent. Better still, only champions are decided in district tournaments. The remaining playoff spots revert back to the points-based system.