Net gain: Highly touted freshman Rylan Miller joins Matanzas volleyball team

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It’s not every day that one of the best freshman volleyball players in the country walks into your gym.

Rylan Miller didn’t just pass. She is the newest addition to Matanzas High School’s varsity volleyball team.

“We’re really lucky,” said Dawn Moses, who is entering her second term as Pirates head coach.

Vballrecruiter.com lists Miller as one of the nation’s top 100 players in the Class of 2026. The website listed Miller as one of the most notable players at the libero position at Under Armor’s upcoming Orlando selection camp in June.

“Only players who level up are invited to Under Armor camp,” Moses said.

Miller’s family recently moved to Palm Coast from Dallas where she played for Texas Advantage Volleyball, one of the top volleyball clubs in the country. Now she plays for another top club team, OTVA Jacksonville, when she’s not playing for the Pirates.

“I think we’re going to be good,” Miller said during a practice in Matanzas on Aug. 11. “I just want to win for the seniors. I want them to come out strong, to have a good last year.”

Miller’s arrival allows senior Sydney Moses, Dawn’s daughter, to return to the setter position after playing a lot of libero last year. A fourth-year starter, Sydney Moses enters her senior year with 1,103 career assists and 734 digs.

“I like having (Rylan) as the libero because I know the ball is always coming my way,” said Sydney Moses. “It’s good to have a consistent passer.”

Miller is more than a regular passer. She is an athletic and skilled defensive player with exceptional knowledge of the field.

“She has all the basic skills,” coach Moses said. “She will be our main setter. She will be on the pitch for all our rotations and she will serve for one of the midfielders.”

Miller has always played the position of libero, the specialty of volleyball. The Liberos wear a different colored jersey and always line up in the back row. They receive most serves, making the first pass to start the attack. Being a good libero takes hard work and discipline, Miller said.

“I’ve always been a setter. I just like the action. Being part of everything is fun. Making games is fun,” she said. “I like defending, keeping the ball off the ground. That’s my favorite part.”

“I like defending, keeping the ball off the ground. That’s my favorite part.”

—RYLAN MILLER

As Sydney Moses returns to setter, versatile junior Senna Thayer will drop to outside hitter.

“It has a trickle-down effect,” Dawn Moses said. “On the other hand, they were ready to do what we asked of them last year.”

“It’s the last time I’ll play for the Pirates, but it’s going to be a great year because it’s the last time I’ll play with all these amazing girls.”

— SYDNEY MOSES

Moses was the head coach of the Pirates in 2016 before taking charge of the Father Lopez program for two seasons. She has been an assistant coach at Matanzas for the past three seasons and was named head coach after Julie Menendez left after last season. Moses is also the head coach of the Beach Volleyball Pirates.

Matanzas went 11-11 last season, and they lost senior outside hitter Emma Wood, who had 289 kills.

“It will be difficult to fill her shoes with everything she brought to court,” said Sydney Moses. “Our hitters aren’t as experienced, but over time I think it will come to them. I’ve seen a lot of improvement already.

“I think we’re going to have a good season,” she added. “It’s my last season in high school, and it’s fun but sad at the same time. It’s the last time I’ll play for the Pirates, but it’s going to be a great year because it’s the last time I’m going to play with all these amazing girls.”

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