Dade Volleyball Preview

Westminster is on a mission


Season outlook


Oct. 15: GMAC tournament.

Oct. 21-25: Districts.

Oct. 29-30: Regional quarterfinals.

Nov. 5: Regional semifinals.

Nov. 9: Regional finals.

Nov. 12-16: State final four at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.


OH Sylvia Hernandez, Westminster Christian, Sr.; OH/S Barbara Lopez, Palmer Trinity, Sr.; OH Sammy Ceballos, Westminster Christian, Jr.; OH Sheyanne Sullivan, Southwest, Jr.; OH Michelle Marenus, Lourdes, Sr.; OH Jenny Ceballos, Westminster Christian, Sr.; OH Lauren Potter, Gulliver, Sr.; OH Lisette Tellez, Ransom Everglades, Sr.; OH Danielle Littke, Palmer Trinity, Sr.; OH Alex Reczek, 5-8, Ferguson, Jr.; MH Taylor David, Palmetto, Sr.; MH Brooke McDermott TERRA, Sr.; MH Annika Reczek, Ferguson, Sr.; MH Caroline Sklaver, Ransom Everglades, Jr.; S Kelsey Taylor, Westminster Christian, Sr.; S Kristine Rios, Coral Reef, Jr.; S Sophie Serrano, Ferguson, Sr.; S Nikki Colonna, Ransom Everglades, Sr.; LIB Susie Forbes, Westminster Christian, Sr.; LIB Tere Bernace, Ransom Everglades, Sr.


1. CORAL REEF (Coach Yasmin Ortiz, 6th year, 86-41). Last year: 25-6 (State semifinalist). Top players: Kristine Rios, 5-6, Jr.; Adara Anselmo, 5-8, Sr.; Andrea Alespeiti, 5-8, Sr.

2. FERGUSON (Coach Greg Shanower, 8th year at FER, 19th overall). Last year: 17-6. Top players: Annika Reczek, 6-0, Sr.; Alex Reczek, 5-8, Jr.; Sophie Serrano, 5-5, Sr.; Michelle Cuervo, 5-9, Fr.

3. LOURDES (Coach Pedro Penate, 3rd year, 38-12). Last year: Regional semifinalist. Top players: Michele Marenus, 5-8, Sr.; Annie Ortiz, 5-6, Sr.; Cristina Melendez, 5-3, Sr.; M.T. Cereijo, 5-6, Sr.

4. PALMETTO (Coach Kimberly Latshaw-Ortiz, 9th year at PAL, 17th overall, 323-133). Last year: 16-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: Taylor David, 6-2, Sr.; Jamie Comendeiro, 5-9, Sr.; Alexis Ceballos, 5-6, Jr.; Erika Jacobs, 5-6, Jr.

5. SOUTHWEST (Coach Iris Carpio, 7th year). Last year: 16-7. Top players: Sheyanne Sullivan, 5-10, Jr.; Denise Rodriguez, 5-7, Sr.; Rachell Vargas, 5-11, Sr.; Natalie Perez, So.

6. VARELA (Coach Michael Vivanco). Last year: 10-10. Top players: Rebecca Garcia, 5-3, Sr.; Maria Estupinan, 5-5, Sr.; Valeria Ibarra, 5-6, Sr.; Claudia Campero, 5-9, So.

7. DR. KROP (Coach Tania M. Torres-Delgado, 1st year at KR). Last year: 8-8. Top players: Destinee Haller, 5-7, Jr.; Tamia Lewis, 6-0, Sr.; Brittany Milo, 5-6, Sr.; Jasmine Albert 5-8, Jr.

8. BRADDOCK (Coach Cynthia Strauss, 24th year, 324-238). Last year: 8-14. Top players: Cristal Parrales, 5-5, Sr.; Dania Molina, 5-4, Sr.; Jackie Guerra, 5-10, Jr.

9. CORAL PARK (Coach K.C. Trimble, 3rd year at CP, 6th overall). Last year: 7-13. Top players: Chantel Guerrero, 5-5, Jr.; Janeth Posada, 5-4, Sr.; Karla Pereda, 5-5, Jr.; Nicole Uzieda, 5-6, So.

10. HIALEAH GARDENS (Coach Karina A. Borge, 4th year at HG, 6th overall). Last year: N/A. Top players: Gabriella Bonilla, Sr.; Gabriela Segovia, Sr.; Melanie Torres, Jr.; Amanda Hernandez, So.

11. CORAL GABLES (Coach Monica de la Vega, 2nd year, 4-10). Last year: 4-10. Top players: Sofia Toche, 5-6, Jr.; Lauren Perna, 5-10, Jr.; Dawson Stiff, 5-10, Jr.

12. SOUTH DADE (Coach Tracey Riley, 1st year). Last year: 8-9. Top players: Nicole Bryant, 5-10, So.; Dominique Shim, 5-10, Sr.; Tynecia Lukes, 6-0, Jr.; Christy Cabrera, 5-8, Sr.


HIALEAH-MIAMI LAKES (Coach Alex Plaza, 16th year at HML; 339-149). Last year: 15-6 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: Olivia Napoles, 5-7, Sr.; Fatima Madul, 5-5, Jr.; Jessy Marquez, 5-6, Jr.; Arelis Rodriguez, 5-6, Sr.


1. TERRA (Coach Vladimir Prado, 5th year, 6th overall). Last year: 13-7. Top players: Brooke McDermott, 6-0, Sr.; Katelyn Barrow, 5-6, Jr.; Gabriela Aquino-Martinez, 5-7, Jr.

2. MOURNING (Coach Dee Rey, 6th year at ATM, 11th overall, 137-55). Last year: 17-7. Top players: Mary Shelow, 5-10, Jr.; Amanda Rey, 5-5, Jr.; Molly Yao, 5-5, Sr.; Rony Edri, 5-10, Jr.

3. MATER ACADEMY (Coach Elsa Lopez, 1st year at MA; 6th overall). Last year: Regional quarterfinalist. Top players: Alexa Sinche, 5-5, Sr.; Daniela Ogando, 5-4, Jr.; Amanda Diaz, 5-7, So.


1. RANSOM EVERGLADES (Coach Roger Peluso, 15th year at RE, 25th overall). Last year: 28-3 (State semifinalist). Top players: Nikki Colonna, 5-11, Sr.; Tere Bernace, 5-6, Sr.; Lisette Tellez, 5-8, Sr.; Caroline Sklaver, 6-1, Jr.

2. GULLIVER (Coach Ed Potter, 3rd year at GP, 16th overall). Last year: 12-13 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: Lauren Potter, 5-11, Sr.; Angelica Mujica, 5-7, Sr.; Catherine Arnholt, 5-4, 8th; Veronica Balli, 5-6, Sr.

3. CARROLLTON (Coach Kevin Carr, 3rd year, 28-14). Last year: 11-12. Top players: Maria Hornbacher, 6-0, Jr.; Adriana Rovirosa, 5-6, Jr.; Alexandra Hasner, 5-4, Jr.; Manuela Fernandez, 5-4, Jr.

4. FLORIDA CHRISTIAN (Coach Beth King, 9th year, 150-67). Last year: 15-11. Top players: Katie Reeder 5-6, Jr.; Natalia Tohme, 5-7, Sr.; Veronica Gomez, 5-6, So.; Katerina Rey, 5-5, So.

5. ST. BRENDAN. Last year: 14-9. Top players: Kasey Garcia, 5-7, Sr.; Tammy Araujo, 5-8, Sr.; Sophia Sires, 5-5, So.; Kaitlyn Bello, 5-9, Sr.

6. EDISON (Coach Melissa Wray, 6th year). Last year: 9-8. Top players: Cerline Hyppolite, 5-9, Sr.; Christlene Amitie, 5-8, Sr.; Ashley Jean-Baptiste, 5-10, Sr.


1. WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN (Coach Julie Doan, 9th year at WC, 10th overall). Last year: 26-5 (State semifinalist). Top players: Sylvia Hernandez, 5-11, Sr.; Jenny Ceballos, 5-11, Sr.; Susie Forbes, 5-7, Sr.; Kelsey Taylor, 5-6, Sr.

2. MIAMI COUNTRY DAY (Coach Michele Rosamiglia, 1st year at MCD, 3rd overall). Last year: 18-8 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: Kayla Kotalik, Sr.; Winona Perez, Sr.; Sydney Jones, Jr.; Brooke Pumo, So.


HEBREW ACADEMY (Coach Stephen Izaguirre, 1st year). Last year: 1-11. Top players: Hailey Dubin, 6-0, So.; Merah Frank, 5-7, Jr.; Stefanie Suster, 5-9, Jr.; Julia Ohana, 6-0, Fr.

Westminster Christian’s volleyball coaches playfully joked about canceling Senior Night this season.

Warriors coach Julie Doan just doesn’t want to say good-bye to one of their most talented classes in school history.

“We don’t want them to leave,” Doan said. “They’ve such an awesome group to coach on and off the court. A lot of them have had family members graduate from Westminster. They’re like family.”

Westminster Christian’s “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 haven’t forgotten the bitterness of losing,” Doan said. “We’re not always the tallest team at state, but we try to make up with it with speed and our skill. That’s what we’re 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 state’s 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 county’s 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.

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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