Westminster Christians volleyball coaches playfully joked about canceling Senior Night this season.
Warriors coach Julie Doan just doesnt want to say good-bye to one of their most talented classes in school history.
We dont want them to leave, Doan said. Theyve such an awesome group to coach on and off the court. A lot of them have had family members graduate from Westminster. Theyre like family.
Westminster Christians core four of outside hitters Sylvia Hernandez, Jenny Ceballos, libero Susie Forbes and setter Kelsey Taylor has led the Warriors to the Class 3A state final four in consecutive seasons.
They want their last season together to end with a state championship, something that has eluded the quartet each time.
They definitely havent forgotten the bitterness of losing, Doan said. Were not always the tallest team at state, but we try to make up with it with speed and our skill. Thats what were trying to focus on this season and bring it home.
Hernandez, a 5-11, two-time Miami Herald Player of the Year, Gatorade Player of the Year nominee, and University of Miami signee, is one of the top-rated players in the country.
Aside from her skill, Sylvia just has a switch she turns on when her teams needs it the most in a tough match, Doan said.
Ceballos, a 5-11 Rollins University commitment, complements her on the court with her versatility.
Taylor, a 5-6 three-year starter at setter, is committed to Miami-Dade College and one of the best in South Florida at her position.
Forbes, a 5-7 libero and Palm Beach Atlantic University commit, is one of the best defensive players in the state.
The four will try to navigate Westminster Christian back to Kissimmee through a tough schedule that includes the Orlando Volleyball Academy tournament and Tampa Berkeley Tournament in September and the Smoothie King Invitational at Ransom Everglades in October.
Westminster also plays Ransom Everglades, one of the top returning teams in Miami-Dade County.
Ransom is coming off a trip to the Class 4A state semifinals where it nearly knocked off eventual champion Orlando Bishop Moore in a five-game match. The Raiders lost one of the states best players in Kathryn Trinka to graduation, but return a solid core of players led by seniors Nikki Colonna, Tere Bernace and Lisette Tellez.
Colonna is a two-time All-Dade setter and will share time at the position with talented junior Caroline Sklaver, a 6-1 blocker. Bernace and Tellez will anchor the defense. Ransom also added depth to their coaching ranks hiring longtime Southwest boys coach Mauricio Diaz to the staff as an assistant to Roger Peluso.
TERRA Environmental, one of the youngest programs in the county, returns one of its top players in outside hitter Brooke McDermott, a University of Miami commitment. McDermott earned first team All-Dade honors last season and leads what could be a surprise team to make it deep in the playoffs after the Wolves moved to Class 6A.
Coral Reef graduated three starters, but returns one of the countys best setters in Kristine Rios and hopes to make it to state for the second consecutive season in Class 8A. The Barracudas biggest challengers figure to be Ferguson, Lourdes, Southwest and Palmetto.