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Naples Dye-ing to win another title

Naples' Skyler Evans gets the ball past the Vilseck blocking of Crystal Morris, right, and Shyanne Hendrix in the Wildcats' 25-18, 25-16, 25-16 victory Friday night in Vicenza, Italy.

KENT HARRIS/STARS AND STRIPES

By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 25, 2015

VICENZA, Italy – The rest of DODDS-Europe may soon seek some kind of limit on the number of sister combos that Naples can put on its sports teams.

Isabel and Victoria Krause helped lead the Wildcats to three straight Division II volleyball titles before the latter graduated in 2014. Moving up to Division I last season without a dominant sister combination, Naples finished second.

Enter freshman Marissa Dye, who joins junior sibling and All-Europe libero Sierra Dye on the court this year, and the Wildcats are thinking title – again.

“Our goal is always to win,” said coach Julia Byler, sharing a smile with her co-coach (and husband) Kenny. “We’ve got to make up for that No. 2 finish last year.” After all, it’s the only year the duo didn’t win a title in its stint at Naples.

The Wildcats are off to a fine start, sweeping Vilseck 25-18, 25-18, 25-18 on Friday night in a rare regular-season meeting between teams from opposite sides of the Alps. Stuttgart and Vicenza join in the action Saturday as the four squads get a weekend of competition other than just their standard regional foes.

It was only Marissa Dye’s third high school match, following opening-weekend victories over American Overseas School of Rome and Marymount. But it’s not as if she’s never played volleyball before.

The two sisters played together when they were 10 and 12 on a club team in Tampa, Fla. coached by their mother, Brenda, according to Sierra Dye.

So what’s it like hooking up again?

“I’m really enjoying it so far,” Sierra Dye said. “We probably need to work a bit more on our communication on the court.”

Shouldn’t sisters have a familiarity advantage of sorts?

“Yeah, but …,” Sierra Dye said. “… our team out here, we’re all sisters … literally and figuratively.”

If that’s true, Friday’s match started out as a bad family outing. Both teams looked a little shaky, with most of the points early on scored not by good plays, but by bad mistakes.

Still, Byler saw a positive: Her team isn’t going to be easy to rattle.

“Those first 15 points, even though we were starting slow, it never phased them,” she said.

And once each of the sets reached the teens, the Wildcats pulled away.

After winning the opening set, Naples took a 9-1 advantage in the second on Marissa Dye’s serving. She had three aces in that span. Vilseck rallied to 14-12, but couldn’t get closer. Sierra Dye was behind the service line when the team broke away in the third set after leading just 12-11.

The Dyes did most of their work in the back of the court, leaving the heavy hitting to senior Skylar Evans, who finished with seven kills and a pair of blocks for points. She wasn’t alone, as freshman Carly Sharp and senior Sarah Kemp combined for six more.

Vilseck, fielding a roster without a player taller than 5 feet, 7 inches, hung in as much as it could.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting outplayed,” Vilseck coach Brian Swenty said. “That’s what I told them. Our effort was there. We didn’t give up. But playing against a team like that, we simply cannot make any mistakes.”

Especially not against sisters wearing tights.

“My mom and dad call us the Dye-namic Duo,” Sierra Dye said with a smile.

Volleyball coaches around Europe are groaning at that one. And not just the pun.

Harris.kent@stripes.com

The "Dye-namic Duo" of sisters Sierra Dye, left, and Marissa Dye await serve from Vilseck on Friday night in the Naples Wildcats' 25-18, 25-16, 25-16 victory.

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