Home Sports Jensen Beach volleyball’s Walch, Sawtelle earn top honors

Jensen Beach volleyball’s Walch, Sawtelle earn top honors

Jensen Beach volleyball’s Walch, Sawtelle earn top honors

Jensen Beach senior volleyball star Lindsay Walch was voted Florida Dairy Farmers 5A Player of the Year and Falcon head coach Mike Sawtelle was selected as the 5A Coach of the Year on Tuesday. 

Jensen Beach's Lindsay Walch (44) takes a shot against Okeechobee in the 4-5A Regional volleyball semifinal, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at Jensen Beach High School. Jensen Beach won in three sets.

The Falcons won the 5A state title with a sweep of Barron Collier last month in Winter Haven and behind the efforts of Walch and the coaching of Sawtelle, Jensen Beach went the last nine matches without dropping a single set to end the season. 

Walch won the award receiving 117 votes and her setter who helped the outside hitter have the season she did was the runner-up as Falcon junior Raegan Richardson received 91 votes. 

Totaling 368 kills, Walch was at her best when it counted in the postseason, averaging over 15 kills in the five playoff matches including 19 in the state semifinal against Vanguard and 17 in the final against Barron Collier. 

Jensen Beach High School Junior Snowy Burnam was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 6A Player of the Year, and Mike Sawtelle the Coach of the Year in 2016 after guiding the Falcons to a 31-2 finish and the program’s fifth state title.

The Furman signee increased her production in almost every statistical category in her final year. Going from 3.6 kills a set to 4.4, Walch almost doubled the number of aces she served from her junior year from 30 to 54 and on the defensive end went from 63 digs to 143 to improve her all-around play. 

Walch admittedly was a bit surprised to earn the award but was thankful to add another accolade to a memorable season for herself and her teammates.

“It feels great, it’s kind of crazy that I got Player of the Year, I did not think it was going to happen,” Walch said. “I feel very honored that I got it and hopefully I can get Miss Volleyball so then I can move up to second place in our sister rankings.”

Lindsay Walch joined her two older sisters as Florida Dairy Farmers Players of the Year as Elise Walch in 2009 was voted as the state’s Miss Volleyball along with the 5A Player of the Year helping Martin County win the state championship.

In 2010, Nicole Walch was selected 5A Player of the Year starring for Martin County and the following year went back-to-back earning 7A Player of the Year honors leading the Tigers to a state championship.

The thrill of being able to lead her team to a state title in her senior year like her two older sisters is still fresh for Lindsay Walch but the reality of knowing she won’t be able to play with the likes of Richardson again is bittersweet.

“It was really great but it’s still kind of sad it’s my last year but very happy I got to play with my teammates one last year, especially with Raegan,” Walch said. “I’ve been with her for four years of high school and club and I’ve created a special bond with her and it’ll be sad leaving her because she’s one of my best friends. Leaving Lauren (Duke) too, I’ve played with her since I was 12 and we have a special friendship on and off the court and it’s sad but I’m glad we all went out the best way possible. It’s a great way to end it.”

Sawtelle guided the Falcons to a 29-3 record and the state title for the program was the fifth championship won in 19 years as a school at Jensen Beach. 

Both Walch and Sawtelle are in consideration along with the six other players and coaches of the year for their respective classes. The winners will be announced on Wednesday.  


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