Say this for Coral Reef junior Stefany Desroches. Not only is she one talented volleyball player, but is one determined young lady.
Three years ago, two slipped discs in her back while she was an eighth grader threatened not only her short-term career in athletics, but long term as well.
But, much to the delight of her coach Yasmin Ortiz and teammates, Desroches doesn’t know how to take no for an answer.
Sure enough, there she was Wednesday night, proudly celebrating with her Barracuda teammates as they celebrated their big come-from-behind victory over previously unbeaten Southwest to win the GMAC volleyball championship at Ronald Reagan High School.
The Cudas, after dropping the first set, took command from there to win it 14-25, 25-18, 15-10 for their second-ever GMAC championship after winning the first five years ago. It snapped Ferguson’s four year stronghold on the trophy as the Falcons, who are going through a rebuilding year, failed to qualify for the tournament.
“I think ever since I got injured it made me fall in love with the game and when I came back, I was determined to play hard, give it my best and appreciate the ability I have to play because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Desroches, who led the way for her team with eight kills, four digs and three blocks. “I had two slipped discs, and my leg was not in line so there was no guarantee that I would be able to come back at all. I think that when you play sports, you need that inner drive to push you or else you won’t make it very far and it was my love for the sport of volleyball that really drove me.”
Even after missing out on her freshman season while rehabbing her back, an injured ankle at the start of her sophomore year kept her out of the lineup for the first three weeks before eventually coming back to not only contribute but make all-county.
“She’s been a phenomenal addition to the program and is a kid who works hard not only on the court but off the court,” said Ortiz. “Back injuries are not like ankle or knee injuries. They can be career-enders even at a young age so that shows you what that girls is made of and the inner drive that she has. I think the girls, they see how hard she works and something like that will rub off on them and bring the entire team together.”
Desroches certainly got plenty of help from he teammates as well as Kristin Davis (7 kills, 3 blocks, 5 digs) and Dalayni Etienne (5 kills, 2 blocks) came up big in the win over the Eagles.
The win capped off a long day of volleyball as Coral Reef (18-2) mowed down Northwestern (25-7, 25-9) in the quarterfinals and Krop (25-16, 25-17) in the semis. The best match of the day came in the other semifinal when Southwest (14-1) dropped its first set to previously unbeaten Reagan before battling back to win a 23-25, 25-21, 15-12 thriller.
In other quarterfinals, Southwest beat Sunset 25-16, 25-16, Krop beat TERRA 25-16, 25-18 and Reagan beat Miami Beach 25-14, 25-17