’Canes volleyball sends retiring coach out as district champ

Lady Canes Volleyball team member Camryn Ets-Hokin hits the ball at the net against Riviera Prep during the 3A Girls Volleyball Regional Quarterfinals of the 2021 FHSAA Volleyball State Championships on Oct. 26. Riviera Prep went on to win 3-0. Photo by Doug Finger

A Coral Shores volleyball season chock full of tough opponents proved beneficial for Kathy Ets-Hokin’s team. Despite losses to larger schools, the Hurricanes’ season saw success with the securing of the No. 1 seed and the hoisting of a trophy.  

“I told the girls not to worry about the record. Just improve and get better and win districts,” Ets-Hokin said. At one point in the season, we did lose games to 6A and 5A teams. I told them, ‘Don’t worry, when we get to districts it’s 3A teams.’”

With a first-round bye, the Lady Canes beat Palmer Trinity, 3-1, and Somerset Academy Silver Palms, 3-0, at home on Oct. 19 to win districts. The volleyball team returned home on Oct. 26 to face a tough Riviera prep team during regionals. The Bulldogs prevailed in the match, 3-0, to end the Hurricanes’ season. 

Ets-Hokin said the ending of the season is bittersweet as she concludes a volleyball coaching stint that began in 2000. She coached through pregnancy with her daughter, Cam, who finished her final season on the team as she graduates this year. 

“I loved coaching and teaching student-athletes to be better people,” Ets-Hokin said. “Outside of athletics, they volunteered for the Special Olympics and helped a volleyball team in the panhandle following Hurricane Michael.”

Ets-Hokin remembers an email she received from the Florida High School Athletics Association seeking assistance for a community that lost more than their volleyball gym. Spearheading relief efforts in the Keys, she worked with Miami Elite VBC, the Upper Keys Foundation and fall sports teams from the school to deliver a semi truck full of goods, as well as money, to hurricane victims who lost almost everything. 

“We ended up sending $15,000 to the panhandle with truck supplies,” she said. “They were shocked and couldn’t believe this all started from the email. It wasn’t just me, but it was everybody standing outside of Winn Dixie and Forest Tek collecting donations.”

Overall, Ets-Hokin said, the Hurricanes volleyball season was a team effort with seniors Kate Johnson and Zoe Myers setting the tone with blocks and kills. Centers Camryn Ets-Hokin and Bekky Valenzuela provided offense, while sophomore Brooke Mandozzi stepped up for the team this year. Strong play was also seen from junior Kailee Reinoso and senior Samantha Martinez. Ets-Hokin also noted that 10 of her student-athletes received all-academic awards this year. 

With Ets-Hokin stepping away, assistant volleyball coach Autumn Hager will step in to serve as head coach next year. 

“I hope the team continues to do a lot for the community and give back,” she said.

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.

Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).