It truly was a historic day for Divine Savior Academy, Nov. 17, as the Varsity Volleyball team defeated Bishop McLaughlin, which, up to that point had been undefeated in the Class 3A state final, held in Ft. Myers, Fla. In fact, this is the first state title for Divine Savior in any sport.
The team came out ready to play and jumped out to an early lead on the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes barely had a chance to recover before the Sharks were up two sets on them, 25-16, 25-16.
The third set proved to be a tougher battle for the Sharks. The Hurricanes were able to take a lead briefly before they were tied 20-20. Junior Fabiana Castro and freshman Isabella Mendoza helped the Sharks pull away. The set and championship match were clinched by a final kill by Castro.
Divine Savior dominated the match offensively. The Sharks top three hitters (Castro, Mendoza and senior Sofia Lugo) had more combined kills than the entire Bishop McLaughlin team.
The state championship is a fitting end to a phenomenal season. The Sharks finished with a 19-match winning streak, winning the last 53 consecutive sets.
According to Head Coach Matt Willems – obviously thrilled to bring the first state championship title to DSA, “What a terrific performance by the entire team! They played with great passion, energy, and tremendous effort all match long. I’m sure it was a great match for our fans to watch and be a part of.”
He noted that Fabiana was the catalyst right from the start as the other girls fed off of her energy and confidence. “Sofia had her best match of the year and many other girls had solid performances as well. We beat an undefeated and very talented team today that many people thought couldn’t be beaten,” Willems added.
On paper, Divine Savior was the definite underdog and many volleyball people in the State were thinking it was going to be Bishop’s year to win the title.
“The girls played great right from the start and deserved the win,” Willems continued. “I’m not surprised that we won but more so in the way in which we won and the fact that it was in straight sets. I’m just so happy for girls to be able to experience this. Not many people can say that they are State Champions, but these girls and this team can. They will remember these memories for the rest of their lives. I’m super proud of their effort all season long and especially the last month in the playoffs.
To think that Divine Savior finished the year on a 19-match win streak and on a 53-set win streak is just amazing to think about, said Willems. “We only lost three sets all season long. That is crazy to think about and comprehend! The girls represented their school, their families, the DSA volleyball program and their Savior so well this season.
“It was really cool to see how the school, the students, the teachers, and the community rallied behind the team in support especially down the stretch in the playoffs. The girls definitely felt the love and wanted to make everyone proud. I just feel honored to have been their head coach this year. What an amazing group of girls and what an amazing season overall! To God be the glory!” he said.
Lone senior starter Sofia Lugo is obviously quite pleased to be able to win a state championship before she graduates in the spring. “I feel like this is a great accomplishment now that we have won state,” she said.
“After my four years of winning districts and not even getting past regionals, this year we did what people thought was impossible. This was a great way to end my high school career and I could not have done it without my team.”
Located in Doral, Divine Savior Academy provides PreK-3 – 12th grade students with college prep academics in a Christian environment. To schedule a private tour of the school, visit www.divinesavioracademy.com.
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