District tournament volleyball action will be coming to a high school gym near you this week.
If all goes according to plan, you may also get to see the championship trophies.
Osceola and St. Cloud are the top seeds in the District 7A-6 and 6A-10 tournaments, and as such will host district semifinals and finals. They both have quarterfinal byes as the No. 1 seed.
The Kowboys (23-1) will play Monday’s winner between Ridge and Haines City on Tuesday at 7 p.m. A victory puts them into Thursday’s championship game, also at 7 p.m.
Coach Carrie Palmi’s team comes in riding high. They’re 23-1 and won three matches last week, including a four-set victory over Melbourne Holy Trinity, who dealt them their only loss on the season.
“We tried to have a tough schedule this year, and I’m glad it worked out that we’re the No. 1 seed,” Palmi said. “We’re pretty familiar with the teams in our district (played all but one this season, did not lose a set), and we’re ready for the tournament.”
The Kowboys feature a hit squad of seniors Allison Palmi and Malina Spencer and freshmen Kaitlin Taylor and Ahnika Johnston. Setter Janleen DeJesus is also a senior; those seniors have never lost in the district tournament as OHS is going for its fifth championship in a row.
Celebration (17-5) is the No. 3 seed and hosts Plant City Durant Monday at 7, the winner travels to No. 2 seed Tampa Newsome on Tuesday.
St. Cloud (17-4) hosts in the District 6A-10 tournament and will welcome Monday’s Harmony-at-Melbourne winner on Tuesday at 7 p.m., meaning the semifinal could be a county rivalry match that sends one to Thursday’s championship.
Bulldogs Coach Ettie Singleton, who has coached at Gateway and St. Cloud for two decades combined, has never won a district title but hopes to do so this year behind a versatile hit squad of her own of senior Abbie Tutor, juniors Eno Inyang Jazmin Santiago and Kaylee Tutor and sophomore Paige Alise.
“I know that through the rankings we can get a regional playoff spot if we don’t win the tournament, but the kids are playing with the attitude that they have to win this week to move on,” Singleton said. “We had a good week last week, we beat Harmony (in three sets) and Gateway (the No. 2 seed in the 5A-11 tournament), so the girls are pumped. They’ve never had a championship either.”
No. 2 seed Viera would be a likely championship opponent; the Hawks beat St. Cloud in the regular season, but that was way back on Aug. 29. They host No. 7 Poinciana Monday, and No. 6 seed Liberty goes to No. 3 Winter Haven, and those winners will play on Tuesday.
As mentioned, Gateway (12-10) is No. 2 in 5A-11 and hosts Palm Bay on Monday for the right to play against Heritage or Bayside on Tuesday at Bayside, the district host.
In the 7A-5 tournament, Tohopekaliga (8-9) is the the No. 6 seed and will go to Dr. Phillips on Monday at 7 p.m. The winner plays Lake Nona or Freedom on Tuesday at 7. The Tigers are looking for their first district tournament victory.