Osceola and St. Cloud claim district titles: Lady Bulldogs still alive in state tournament

The 2019 Girls Volleyball Season was a successful one for several Osceola schools, as local teams claimed two district championships and sent three teams to regional competition.    

ST. CLOUD

The St. Cloud Bulldogs (20-4-0) remains alive in the state championship tournament by virtue of its Regional Quarterfinal sweep (25-14, 25-10, 25-20) over Winter Haven on Wednesday night.

It was the Lady Bulldogs third victory in three tries this season over the Lady Blue Devils. Eno Inyang (8 kills) and Kaylee Tutor (23 assists) led the way to the victory.

“I really felt that we controlled the momentum of the match,” St. Cloud Head Coach Ettie Singleton said. “We played really well but hopefully we can find a little more for the next round.”

The win puts St. Cloud at home next Tuesday night against Bloomingdale (Velrico) in a Regional Semifinal.  Although the Lady Bulls come in with a 13-10 record, the school has won six of its last seven matches.

“They got hot at the right time and come in with a lot of momentum,” Singleton said of the Lady Bulldogs next opponent. “They will come in aggressive with present a solid challenge to us.”

Last week, St. Cloud earned a spot in regional competition by winning the Class 6A, District 10 championship by defeating Harmony in the semifinals and taking a five-set win over Viera in the district championship game (25-19, 25-27, 20-25,25-14, 15-13).

OSCEOLA

After going 23-1 in the regular season, the Osceola Lady Kowboys earned a bye in the first round of the Class 7A, District 6 tournament. Osceola would then sweep Freedom and Ridge High School to claim the district crown and earn a first round home contest against Tampa Steinbrenner (21-5). Osceola would go on to win the first two sets against Steinbrenner, before losing the next three games, including a 13-15 loss in the decisive fifth game.

“We knew it would be a tough contest but it was heart-breaking to lose after winning the first two games,” Osceola Head Coach Carrie Palmi said. “After Steinbrenner fell behind, they did a great job of making some adjustments, slowing down our offense. You never want to lose a match after winning the first two games, but we went out battling.”

Palmi went on to add that this was one of her favorite teams in her Osceola coaching career.

“The bonds and friendships these kids formed with each other were unbelievable. This was the closest group I have ever had. They worked so hard and so well together.”

Osceola finishes the season with a 25-2 with both a district and OBC crown to its credit.  

GATEWAY

After defeating Palm Bay and Heritage in district tournament play, Gateway reached the finals of the Class 5A, District 11 tournament, where they lost a three-set match to Merritt Island (25-18, 25-13, 25-8).  

The Panthers advanced to Regionals, but lost a road quarterfinal match to Ocala Vanguard in straight sets to finish their season at 14-12.

CELEBRATION

With a straight set win over Durant, the Storm advanced to Class 7A, District 6 semifinals where they lost three games to Newsome.

Celebration finished the season with a solid 17-6 record. Pedro Devila’s team featured just three seniors on the roster and should have a strong team returning in 2020.

HARMONY

In Class 6A, District 10, the Harmony Longhorns won their first district tournament game, defeating Melbourne (25-19, 25-21, 25-11) before seeing its season end with a four-set loss to rival St. Cloud (11-25, 25-23, 11-25 and 19-25).

The Longhorns season ends at 11-13.  Junior Autumn Rogers led the team in kills with 168.

LIBERTY

Playing in Class 6A, District 10, the Lady Chargers (3-14) saw its season end with a 25-14, 25-17, 25-10 district quarterfinal loss to Winter Haven.

POINCIANA

Playing in Class 6A, District 13, the Poinciana Eagles finished at .500 this season with a 9-9 regular season record, before losing to Winter Haven in a district quarterfinal game.

TOHOPEKALIGA

Competing in Class 7A, District 5 the Tohopekaliga Tigers finished the season a 25-20, 25-13, 25-23 straight set loss to Dr. Phillips in a district quarterfinal match.  The Tigers ended the season with a 7-11 record.