PALMETTO – The Bradenton Area Convention Center was home to a volleyball banquet Thursday night, and it featured a very special host.
“Tonight is our state banquet for the Florida College System Activities Association,” State College of Florida Athletic Director Matt Ennis said.
Junior college volleyball teams from all over the state were honored.
“We have our returning national champion, Miami Dade, who’s undefeated this year, ranked #1 in the nation,” Ennis said.
Miami Dade player Massiel Matos is the reigning MVP.
“I feel very good for that,” Matos said. “I work very hard for that.”
She’s not the only one being honored.
“I’ll be emceeing this event tonight, and I want to just congratulate all the teams for making it to the state tournament,” SNN’s Lynden Blake said.
When deciding who should kick off the tournament weekend, Ennis thought, “Who better than Lynden Blake?”
“She’s just a total sports junkie,” Ennis said. “For us to bring such a strong event to our community, we wanted somebody who just was passionate about sports, and that’s totally Lynden.”
“Now I can add ’emcee’ to my resume,” Blake said. “This is my first time doing something like this, and I’m so excited to be here.”
“We’re so excited to have her in front of these young ladies,” Ennis said. “I think she’s an inspiration for some of these young ladies who may aspire to do what she’s doing.”
Going into an intense tournament, they’ll take all the inspiration they can get.
“The competition is harder than last year,” Matos said.
“They push you to do better,” Ennis said. “They’re always driving for more and more.”