Last year was very successful for the Columbus varsity volleyball team as they made it to the state semi-finals. Even though they didn’t capture the ring last year, they didn’t let it affect them.
This year, the Explorers have had a remarkable season, continuing their winning ways from last season. Led by head coach Pedro Penate, the team has been working diligently throughout the season to achieve their ultimate goal, a state championship. With only one loss this year and being recently named district champions the players feel their goal is now in sight.
The Florida High School Boys Volleyball State Championships begin on Friday May 6th; the Explorers feel their past experiences will drive them to victory as six seniors returned this year and a few sophomores that played on the varsity team last year also returned.
“Last year’s run gave us a lot of experience,” said senior captain Gabriel Campo, “we rode a lot of that momentum as last year we also got to the state tournament but lost, and this year we want to go even further.” The experiences they had from last year are propelling them closer and closer to the state finals and they believe that gives them the edge over their opponents. Playing with the same teammates for two years can also have its advantages.
“The experience and chemistry we have right now is great,” said senior Edward De Arcos, “ I’ve been playing with some of these guys for years, and hopefully our chemistry can help us become state champions.” Knowing how to play as a team is a vital skill to becoming a champion; the Explorers believe they have it.
The players have also been working hard before and after the games as they always make their practices and try to become better players. “They’ve been working very hard since August,” Penate explained, “we’ve been practicing, scrimmaging, and working out, and they haven’t stopped working hard. Every practice they push harder and harder; I’m extremely proud of these guys.”
The Explorers believe they are mentally and physically prepared to be champions. They’ve worked hard and their experience and chemistry have gotten them a near perfect record and a district championship. The Explorers now face off against Killian High School first in the quarterfinal at Golden Gate High School in Naples, Florida on May 6th. If they win in the quarterfinal they move on to play in the semi-final and possibly the state final on Saturday May 7th.
With contribution from Gabriel Gonzalez, Christopher Forero, and Cesar Sabates.