All-County volleyball: City of Life’s Alexandra Cardona has D-I potential
By Rick Pedone
Alexandra Cardona, the co-Osceola News-Gazette Volleyball Player of the Year, has always been passionate about sports, and volleyball is her favorite.
That worked out well both for Cardona, a junior outside hitter, and for City of Life Christian Academy, where Cardona was a captain last sesaon.
With Cardona playing a key role, the Lady Warriors, 16-4, won the district championship and breezed two rounds into the Class 2A playoffs. They were just a few points away from qualifying for the state tournament before a 3-2 loss against Geneva School of Winter Park.
“Our team had a wonderful season. I told our players before the season that we were underdogs because we are a small private Christian school, so we had to play as hard as we could play,” she said.
Cardona thanked her coaches, Cynthia Ortega and Rob Gorski at City of Life, and her coaches at Orlando Volleyball Academy for helping her become a very good player.
“All of my coaches have played a role in how I have developed my skills,” she said. “And my parents have been there to support me all the way to where I am now. I couldn’t have gotten here without their support.”
Cardona had 275 kills, 174 digs and 21 blocks this season, big league totals that have attracted the attention of big league college programs.
Cardona has received interest from several D-1 programs from major conferences.
“The recruiting process is interesting. It’s almost like nonstop texts and emails, and it can be exhausting, but it is also a lot of fun,” she said. “In club volleyball, I play libero because that probably would be my best position in college.”
Cardona played several sports before concentrating on volleyball when she was 13.
“My family asked me if I was that serious about the sport, if that was the sport that I wanted to pursue a scholarship in, and I said ‘yes,’” she said.
“What I love about volleyball is that it is a way to meet new people and learn new things.”
She inherited her athletic skills and competitive nature from her father, Alexander Cardona, who played three years in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.
“I would like to play in his footsteps and be a professional athlete,” she said. “My dream and goal is to make it to the Olympics some day,” she said.
One aspect of the game she especially enjoys at City of Life is working with her teammates.
“That is the favorite part of it for me. I love helping our other players learn to play better,” she said. “It’s the most rewarding part.”
City of Life Athletic Director and assistant volleyball coach Rob Gorski said Cardona is a joy to have on the team.
“She is a great student, with passion and a heart of gold,” he said.
“What also places her at the top is her competitiveness and her sportsmanship. She’s just a great all-around person.”
As good as City of Life was this season, Cardona expects it to be better next year.
Most of the team will return, and it will be playoff-hardened.
Cardona’s younger sister, Milexa, only 12, was a setter for the varsity team and, like her teammates, she should be better next season.
“I’m looking forward to playing next season with my sister. I think if we are committed and we work as hard as we can, we can go a long way in the playoffs next year,” Alexandra said.