Boys volleyball back in action
Photo/Special to the News-Gazette
St. Cloud’s Carlos Cruz (9) hits during a St. Cloud boys volleyball match at the Bulldogs gym.
By Rick Pedone
Something old was new again this spring at two local high schools – boys volleyball.
The sport, last played in Osceola County 13 years ago, returned at St. Cloud and Celebration.
Ettie Singleton, the St. Cloud’s girls coach, gave up coaching track to build the Bulldogs boys volleyball team.
The team recently completed a 22-game season with a not-that-bad 6-16 record.
“The boys did great. My roster of eight boys really stepped out of the box and did a great job learning and absorbing the game of volleyball in 10 weeks,” Singleton said.
Seth Stankich, Anthony Pinkerton, Derrek Fernbacher, Tommy Billiteri, Brendon Coughenour, Joseph Hernandez, Alberto Ramos and Carlos Cruz competed for the Bulldogs.
St. Cloud won matches against Cornerstone Academy (twice), Oak Ridge, Celebration (twice) and Colonial.
Boys volleyball was not sanctioned by the Florida High School Athletic Association in the 1990s, when it was popular in Osceola County. Osceola High won the 1991 Lake Mary Volleyfest, then considered state championship tournament.
Boys volleyball was played at Osceola, St. Cloud, Gateway and Poinciana, then the only four public high schools in the county, but the sport dwindled in popularity when it moved from the fall to the spring.
The FHSAA has since recognized the sport and holds a state championship series each May. The state tournament moved from Kissimmee to Fort Lauderdale this year.
St. Cloud and Celebration are independents and did not participate in district play.
Celebration’s team was organized by Lady Storm coach Pedro Davilla, who turned the head coaching job over to veteran club coach Carlos Pedraza.
Freshmen Diego Molina (outside hitter) and setter Chayanne Luey have experience at the elite club level and should help the program develop, Davilla said.
Celebration has a large JV team that forms a foundation for the program, he said.