The field of the recent Dig the Beach tournament at Siesta Key wasn’t short of former college players.
Four women who graduated from area high schools and then had college careers competed.
Venice High School graduate Autumn Duyn teamed with Thanh Le to tie for fifth among 22 teams in the co-ed A division, according to the Dig the Beach online site. Duyn was a highly decorated player for the University of West Florida indoor volleyball team from 2011-15 and ranked in the school’s top three in career games played, kills and digs entering the 2018 season.
She recently earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and has to take the professional license examination, so school has been her priority.
“I haven’t done any beach tournaments in three years,” said Duyn, whose love remains indoor volleyball. “I’ve never missed something so much in my life. I really, really miss indoor.”
Duyn played in the Siesta Key stop of the tour years ago.
“It’s just closer,” she said. “It’s pretty well-run.”
She and Le finished second in pool play to reach the playoffs.
“It was good,” Duyn said. “I was surprised I could still play. It was fun.”
Another past college player in the tournament was Port Charlotte High product Kierston Smith, who teamed with Charlotte High alumna Alyssa (previously Latham) Collier. Duyn said she didn’t realize until too late that Smith was playing and did not get to see her. She said they were club teammates years ago.
Actually, Smith partnered with Le during a 2017 Dig the Beach Siesta Key tournament. Smith competed in indoor volleyball for State College of Florida before finishing her career at Columbus State University, which decided in 2017 to discontinue its volleyball program.
Then-Latham competed for State College before heading to Augusta University, where she ranks fourth in assists per set in program history. Smith and Collier tied for third among 10 teams in the women’s AAA division.