Gulliver volleyball star Lauren Potter is not the daughter of Gulliver coach Ed Potter.
“I wish I had a daughter who played that well,” said Potter, who just happens to share a last name with his prodigy.
Here’s why Lauren gets the prodigy tag: She’s only in the seventh grade and already she is one of Gulliver’s top two players.
“She is going to be wicked good,” Potter said.
“She’s 5-10 and should grow some more since she’s only 12 years old. Her dad is 6-2 or 6-3. Plus, she has a very good swing.
“Her defense is a little suspect at this age. But by the time she’s 14, she’s going to be something. If she continues at this rate, she is going to be a Division I [college] player.”
Gulliver graduated seven seniors after last season, which makes Lauren’s presence on the roster even more important.
Potter said Lauren tends to hang out with the JV players because the age difference is so great between her and varsity members such as seniors Madeline Benn and Melanie Brooks.
“But on the court,” Potter said, “[the other varsity girls] love her.”
Potter said the only other difference with having such a young player on the varsity team is that sometimes he has to “catch” himself from being too critical of her because of her age.
Beyond that, Potter expects this to be a transition season at Gulliver, where the most promising talent is on the JV and middle-school rosters.
All in the Family
Mourning coach Dee Rey, a former swimmer, got involved in volleyball when the oldest of her three daughters, Ashley, showed interest in the game in fifth grade.
Fast-forward a decade and Ashley is a starting collegiate setter as a junior at Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I.
Meanwhile, Dee Rey is coaching her other daughters at Mourning.
Alyssa, a 5-6 senior, is the top player on the team and best prospect of the three sisters, according to Dee.
And little sister Amanda, a 5-5 sophomore, is the starting setter.
The girls grew up in volleyball-crazy California (San Jose to be exact) and kept their love for the sport since moving back to Miami in 2006.
Dee Rey is the official coach of the Mourning program, but she said she focuses on teaching fundamentals to the junior varsity team and gives her assistants, Kelly Dantas and Mandi Kate, full reign to coach the varsity.
With five of its top six players competing in their senior seasons, Lourdes seems primed for a big season.
Isa Vilar, a 6-0 senior who made first-team All-Dade last season, returns after leading Lourdes to a 23-6 record and the regional semifinals.