BRADENTON -- On paper, Manatee's volleyball team doesn't appear to be much different than last year's team.
Rachel Batey begs to differ.
"We really have a new team this year. We have a lot of returners," the coach said, "but so much has changed. Personalities, growth..."
It begins with Batey, who was assisting coach Ken Deterding last season at Manatee.
Deterding is gone, and now the program is all Batey's. Tuesday, she collected her first regular-season win as Manatee's coach when the Canes dispatched Southeast 3-0.
It was a Manatee-type match, Batey said, one where the Hurricanes (1-1) used a bevy of contributors to sweep past the rival Seminoles 25-8, 25-11, 25-13.
"We have a lot of stabilizers," Batey said. "We don't really have that stud...We just have a lot of stabilizers instead of that one girl that just stands out on a team."
Not that Batey is complaining. On Tuesday, the outside tandem of Allie Clements (four kills) and Becca Butler (12 kills) were too much for Southeast to handle.
And that was before Manatee showed its depth in the form of freshman Haley Coulter, another outside hitter, who had five kills in the finale.
"She can really put a ball away," Batey said. "So what I liked (Tuesday) was to see her get comfortable on the court. I tried to put her in a couple of other times, and she got scared. And (Tuesday), she just got more and more comfortable. And it was nice to see her team support here.
"For our first three games, we really just played six players. And to switch new girls in... to see the team work well when we made changes was comforting. We have a deep bench."
Butler, a junior, consid
ered Tuesday's win a big step forward.
"Our offense was really working, and we started to communicate better than we had in the preseason and against Lakewood (Ranch)," she said. "The chemistry is starting to click."
Alex Pendleton had six kills, and Emma Bartges and Tori Scovill each added seven digs for Southeast (0-3). Scovill added 10 assists.
Coach Nancy Cothron considered Tuesday a learning experience.
"Just how fast the game is supposed to be played, and when I say, 'Hey, move your feet,' they get a reason why," Cothron said. "We play certain teams that it's just a slow offense, they don't have to work so hard. When you work hard and do the things we ask you do to in practice, they show up against a team like this, that puts the ball where you're supposed to be.
"We got a lot of digs, got a lot of touches, so that shows me they were reading pretty well."
Manatee defeated Southeast 25-12, 25-12 in a contest between two JV squads. Heather Ball had nine aces for Manatee (1-1). Morgan O'Quinn recorded three kills.