Girls varsity volleyball takes 8th at Nike Tournament of Champions


photo by Donna Schwartz

Libero Mayte Camacho is serving the ball against Winter Springs. The team beat Winter Springs August 31, 2-3.

Only one match into the season, the girls volleyball team traveled to the Nike Tournament of Champions on Sept. 3. They won their pool to advance to the platinum division, ending with a 4-3 record and an eighth place overall finish.

I felt pretty confident and excited going into the tournament,” said libero Mayte Camacho. 

The tournament was three days long, with the team check-in taking place Thursday, and game days on Friday and Saturday. The first game of the tournament was against Deland.

“The game against Deland was a great start to the tournament,” said outside hitter Brooke Stephens. “We were excited to have a win right off the bat and it motivated us to keep playing harder and make adjustments.”

 After beating Deland 2-1, their next game was against Clearwater Central Catholic High School. 

“The second set in the Clearwater Central Catholic game stood out to me because we pushed to finish the game even when we were tired from rallies,” said Camacho. 

The final score against Clearwater Central Catholic was 2-0, and the last game of the Friday pool play was against Spain Park High School from Hoover, Alabama, ranked 11th nationally.

“The first set against Spain Park stood out to me the most because we played well and had a lot of positive energy,” said Stephens. Considering they were such a highly ranked team, I think winning that first set really boosted our confidence.”

Spain Park made a comeback in the next two sets, beating the team 2-1. After the Spain Park loss, the girls went on to lose their last two matches of the day, giving the team a tiebreaker game against Clearwater Central Catholic. 

The team won their second game against Clearwater Central Catholic, allowing them to win their pool, putting them into the platinum bracket on Saturday. The first game of this bracket was against Leon High School. 

“I was not nervous going into the Leon game because it was a new day and we had a fresh start. I knew I had to let that game stay in the past and just focus on what we had coming up,” said Stephens. 

Beating Leon meant they advanced in their bracket, and their next game was against St. Pius X Catholic.

“The St. Pius X Catholic game was a tough game, even though we lost, I’m proud of us for pushing through the game and playing hard,” said outside hitter Hope Lusher. 

St. Pius X Catholic beat the team 2-0, sending them to the losers bracket to face Skutt Catholic High School. 

The Skutt Catholic game was the final match of the day. The team focused on playing their best game, trying to win their last game of the tournament. They won the first set 25-18, hoping to set the tone for the next two matches. The next two sets, Skutt Catholic won. The girls took 8th place out of 16 teams in their bracket

“After losing, I was pretty upset because we had won the first set, so I know we could’ve won the game. However, I still think we worked hard and did our best,” said Lusher. 

Overall the team was prepared and excited for the Nike Tournament of Champions this year, as they went into the tournament with a win against Winter Springs and felt ready to compete.

“The game we had just played against Winter Springs set the standards pretty high,” said Camacho. 

The team’s next game is at 7:00 p.m. against rival Oviedo on Sept. 9 at home. Oviedo also competed in the tournament this past weekend, placing second in their pool. This will be the first rival game of the season, and is expected to strike up school spirit both home and away.