KeKe Smith going to Ava Maria
News-Gazette Photo/Rick Pedone Family members and the Osceola High coaching staff joined KeKe Smith, seated center, recently when the OHS volleyball player celebrated her grant to Ava Maria University.
OHS libero led team in digs during title season
By Rick Pedone
Ava Maria University has been a popular destination for Osceola High volleyball players over the past several years, and the South Florida institution landed another good one when libero Keiandra “KeKe” Smith decided to join the Gyrenes roster next season.
Smith signed a grant to the NAIA Sun Conference school at a signing ceremony at the OHS gym recently with her family, coaches and friends.
“I feel like it’s a great fit for me. The coaches are very helpful, and the girls there seem great,” Smith said. “It has a real comfortable,
Smith played an important role for a Lady Kowboys team that has enjoyed a succession of excellent seasons under Coach Carrie Palmi. Last season the Lady Kowboys, 20-6, won the Orange Belt Conference championship. Smith led OHS in digs (397).
“She’s very quick, and naturally her strength is defense,” Palmi said.
The libero position is a defensive specialist and is not permitted to attack from the net.
Palmi expects Smith to have an excellent experience at Ava Maria.
“It is a good place for her. It’s going to work out very well for her and for the school. I’m very impressed with the program down there, both athletically and academically,” she said.
Smith has played volleyball only four seasons. She is the fourth OHS player to sign to Ava Maria, where Coach Scott Barbe is beginning his first season.
Smith will study nursing at the university, located near Naples.