Finley Center opens doors to Jacksonville (Fla.) volleyball

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) – The Jacksonville (Fla.) University volleyball team expected to hold a normal practice in its home gym Monday night, but Hurricane Irma had other plans.

The Dolphins got stuck in Alabama due to weather while on a road trip last week, and they were still here Monday. With a tournament coming up this weekend, they couldn’t afford to miss practice. So leaders at the Finley Center opened their volleyball court to the team Monday afternoon.

“Oh my goodness, the people are so kind and so welcoming and so warm,” coach Julie Darty said. “It’s just southern hospitality at its finest.”

The Dolphins were able to work out a practice time with the Finley Center thanks to a player on their roster who has ties in the area. Freshman Madison Rayam is from Alabaster. She once played for a club team that practiced in the Finley Center. So Darty reached out to the club’s leader and officials at the arena to arrange a practice.

They play their first home game of the season Friday against Presbyterian. Darty said their arena was damaged by Hurricane Irma, but they still hope they’ll be able to host their Dolphin Invitational tournament there this weekend.

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