Osceola High School advanced in FHSAA regional volleyball competition, and St. Cloud junior Morgan Beaulieu advanced to the state golf championships for a second straight year in last week’s prep action.
Here’s a look around Osceola County sports:
Carrie Palmi’s Osceola high school volleyball team remained alive in the FHSAA State Championship, advancing to the regional semifinals with an impressive 25-19, 18-25, 25-20, 25-9 win over Wharton on Oct. 21. Junior Yarelis Lopez and sophomore Kaitlyn Taylor led the way with 17 kills each; while setter Lia Cartegena added 40 assists. The Lady Kowboys, 15-6 on the season, advanced to Wednesday night’s road matchup with District 12 champion Newsome (18-2), which defeated Celebration in its regional quarterfinal (25-18, 25-6, 25-15).
As with football, volleyball teams were given the option to schedule additional games beyond the playoffs because of the COVID-19 crisis. The Storm (6-7) will have five regular season matches remaining in its season and played Harmony, St. Cloud and Poinciana this past week. Eliminated by Viera in the state tournament’s first round of regionals, St. Cloud (13-2), has four regular season matches left including a Nov. 3 contest against rival Osceola. In FHSAA Class 5A playoff action, the Gateway Panthers gave heavily favored Palm Bay Heritage all they could handle on the road, before dropping an extremely close match (27-29, 25-19, 22-25, 25- 18, 19-21) where they sent the fifth and deciding set into overtime. Gateway also has additional post-playoff matches this year before concluding the season with a Nov. 3 match with Celebration.
For the first time in the school’s history, both the girl’s and boy’s golf teams at St. Cloud High School advanced to regionals in the same year. Unfortunately, both teams came up short in their bid to make it to the state championship as a team.
The big news came in the girls tournament, where St. Cloud junior sensation Morgan Beaulieu posted an even par 72 to claim fourth place overall and grab one of the three at-large spots for the state tournament. It will be Beaulieu’s second trip to the state championships. She qualified for an atlarge spot last year as a sophomore at Tohopekaliga High, finishing 15th overall. Other counting team scores for the Bulldogs came from Jenna Barnet (81), Tes Sheive (90) and Cauden Challacombe (129).
Overall, the Lady Bulldogs posted a team score of 372. Lakeland won the region with a 299, with Windermere (300) and Lake Nona (310) also advancing in the team championship. Individually, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Erin Marcelino took individual honors with a four-under round of 68.
The Boy’s Team, led by senior Bryan Hernandez (74) and junior Eric Hernandez (79), posted an impressive team score of 317, falling just 12 shots short of securing a third place finish and advancing to the state championship finals. Windermere (295) won the district crown with Vero Beach and Columbus tying for second at 305 to advance. Cypress Creek’s Kaleb Palm took individual honors with a three-under Par 69. Bulldogs junior Austin Price (81) and sophomore Gunnar Green (83) posted counting scores for St. Cloud.
“Morgan is playing some really good golf this year. She is learning how to score and has had multiple under par rounds this year including her first competitive round in the 60’S to win the conference championship. I look for very good showing from her in the state tournament and with her best effort she has a real chance to compete for top honors,” Head Coach Jim Endicott said. “It was an exciting and satisfying year for both St. Cloud teams. We only lose one senior off the boys’ team and return our top five players on the girls’ side. The future certainly looks bright for both St. Cloud teams.”
Harmony upped its season record to 2-3 with an impressive 28-0 road win over Leesburg. Once again, the Longhorns were led on the ground by sophomore Tyler Emans, who averaged more than seven yards a carry (8-61) and scored three touchdowns. Cooper Richards also had a big game on the ground with 76 yards on 10 totes, and Chase Harvey and Michael Marino led the defense, each recording 10 tackles and a quarterback sack. Harmony hosts Gateway (0- 4) on Friday. The Panthers are coming off a bye week.
St. Cloud returned to action with a big 39-7 win over Winter Springs. Patrick Forsyth rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns and Garhett King threw for 260 yards and three more touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs; while Jack Rilling caught eight of those passes for 115 yards and a score. Defensively, Kwaisi Crudup had two tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown. The Bulldogs (3-2) travel to Lakeland next week to play private small school power Victory Christian.
After missing a couple of games due to CVID-tracing, the Celebration Storm returned to action with a 27-8 win over Cypress Creek. The Storm plays Tohopekaliga on Friday.
Both Poinciana and Liberty lost to a couple of Polk County powers last week. The Eagles (1-4) fell to state-ranked Bartow (5-0) by a 36-0 count. Liberty (1-4) lost to Lake Gibson, 63-0. Poinciana will attempt to get its first victory over the Chargers on Friday night in the annual “Battle of the Boulevards” clash.
“This is the most important game on our schedule, year-in and year-out,” Poinciana Head Coach Randy Beeken said. “Obviously we want to end that losing streak. The key to the game is going to be our ability to move the ball on offense.”