Dan PearsonBy:  J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

When the high school volleyball season opens next week, Osceola County will have its share of solid teams as up to five schools should field contenders for FHSAA playoff spots.   Heading the list is Osceola, Harmony and Tohopekaliga; while Gateway and St. Cloud should also contend.

Unlike last season, when the Orange Belt Conference champion was determined by round robin play, a single-elimination conference tournament scheduled for St. Cloud on Oct. 3-6 will determine the OBC Champion.

Here is a look around the county:


Head Coach:  Carrie Palmi

2021 Record:  20-8, 7-1 (OBC)

Top Returning Players:

Kaitlyn Taylor, Sr., OH

Eimy Negron, Sr., DS/L

Alex Liggeri, Jr., S

Top Newcomers:

Cate Palmi, Fr., OH

Sofia Spivey, Fr., RSH

The Scoop:

Coach Carrie Palmi welcomes back a veteran team that went 20-8 last year and advanced to regional play.  The team returns Kaitlyn Taylor – a candidate for OBC Player of the Year honors – and several other outstanding upperclassmen.  Add in a freshmen class that includes Cate Palmi, who earned club All-America honors this summer from two separate organizations, and Sofia Spivey and Dari Bravo and you have the makings of outstanding team both for this year and the immediate future.  

Palmi on the Lady Kowboys:

“We are super excited about the coming year as we are welcoming back an extremely talented and veteran group of players; along with several outstanding newcomers. The freshmen have excelled at club level and should contribute immediately.”


Head Coach:  Eric Capestany

2021 Record:  22-3, 7-0 OBC

Top Returning Players:

  • Danna Aguilera, Jr., OH 
  • Nyah Moore, Jr., S
  • Sophia Bou, Jr., OH

Top Newcomers:

  • Amyaiza Jordan, So,, OH
  • Faviola Acety-Gonzalez, Sr., L/DS

The Scoop:

Last year, Toho – with a dozen seniors – was the class of the county going 22-3 overall and posting a perfect 14-0 record against county opposition.  While the Lady Tigers lost a ton of talent to graduation, including OBC Player of the Year, Adrianna Warner, head coach Eric Capestany is not pressing the panic button.  He promotes several outstanding young players from the junior varsity and has four incoming transfers who can make an immediate impact.  Look for setter Nyah Moore to become to emerge as one of the county’s best at her position.

Capestany on the Lady Tigers: 

“While it’s true we lost a lot of talented players to graduation, we have a lot of junior varsity kids coming up that could have started varsity on a lot of teams.  We also are fortunate to add some really good transfers, and they should make an impact.  I think we will be pretty good this season, but it’s hard to say how we will do because I am sure other teams like Osceola and Harmony have improved from last year.”


Head Coach:  Ryan Kading

2021 Record:  14-10 (5-2 OBC)

Top Returning Players:

  • Wiljamarie Hernandez, Sr., S
  • Isabella Granados, Sr., DS
  • Drea Thompson, Sr., OH

Top Newcomers

Kinzie James, So., OH/RSH

The Scoop:

Successful coach Travis Foster left the Longhorns earlier this year to become the new Athletic Director at Tohopekaliga.  Still the Lady Longhorns should not miss a beat as Foster’s long-time assistant – Ryan Kading – takes over.  The strength of team should be its front line, where four-year starter and multi-sport standout Drea Thompson returns.  With the graduation departure of Adriana Marrero, the Lady Longhorns may be lacking varsity experience on the back line.

Kading on the Lady Longhorns:

“Overall we return a lot of experience.  We are going to be a pretty solid team at most positions, especially on the front line.  Finding someone who can handle serves will be one of the challenges this year.”


Head Coach:  Ettie Singleton

2021 Record:  13-14 (1-5 OBC)

Top Returning Players:

  • Madison Carlo, Sr., S
  • Lelani Cayaban, Sr., MH
  • Delia Macdonald, Sr., OH
  • Destiny Osborne, Jr., OH
  • DeeAnn Williams, Jr., OH

Top Newcomers:


The Scoop:

St. Cloud went through an uncharacteristic sub .500 year last season, going 13-14 overall and 1-5 in round robin OBC play.  Veteran coach Ettie Singleton welcomes back a largely-veteran team, including setter Madison Carlo (295 assists) and outside hitter Delia Macdonald (127 kills), both of which earned second-team All-OBC honors last year.  With veterans returning at most positions, Singleton was not sure if any first-year players would make a significant impact this season.

Singleton on Lady Bulldogs:

“This is a veteran team that has worked extremely hard in the off-season.  They are a great group of athletes that are a lot of fun to coach and I am really excited about the coming season and I believe we have the talent to compete for a district title.”


Head Coach:  Heidi Lizardi

2021 Record: 12-10, (4-3 OBC)

Top Returning Players:

  • Alondra Rivera, S
  • Morgan Alexander, Jr., OH
  • Bianca Diaz, DS

Top Newcomer:

Kiara Matos, OH

The Scoop:

Behind Heidi Lizardi, Gateway came on strong at the end of the year, defeating Lake Minneola and Auburndale to win the Class 5A, District 8 championship.  The Lady Panther would then defeat Fivay to advance to the regional semifinals.  Although Gateway lost some talented seniors off that team, Lizzardi does return some talented players – particularly on the back line.  Morgan Alexander and 6’-1” newcomer Kiara Matos, should make the Lady Panthers’ front line formidable.

Lizardi on the Lady Panthers:

“We have always has a strong youth program that has fed our varsity team through the years.  Our goals remain the same as always, try to improve each match and play our best volleyball at the end of the season.”


Head Coach: Pedro Davila

2021 Record:  11-11, (3-4 OBC)

Top Returning Players:

  • Augusta Guzman, Sr., RSH
  • Carly Robbins, So., S
  • Grace Harrison, Jr., OH
  • Bruna Braga-Mattozinho, Sr., L

The Scoop:

With a senior-heavy lineup last year, the Lady Storm is most likely in line for a rebuilding year in 2022.  Sophomore setter Carly Robbins has impressed in the pre-season; while Grace Harrison moves from middle blocker to outside hitter to fill one of the voids created by graduation.

Davila on the Lady Storm:

“With only a couple of returning starters, we are going to be a very young team this season, one that will see a lot of sophomores get playing time.  This is a team that will definitely build a foundation for the future.”


Head Coach:  Richard Sanchez-Morales

2021 Record:  3-11, 0-7 OBC)

Top Returning Players

  • Jailice Rodriguez, Sr., OH
  • Makaila Longway, Sr., OH

Top Newcomers

Ana Rosado, So, L

The Scoop:

Richard Sanchez-Morales returns as head coach of the Eagles after stepping down two years ago.  He hopes to revitalize the Poinciana program and that will start with Jailice Rodriguez and Makaila Longway, a pair of senior outside hitters.  He believes he has a young standout in libero Ana Rosado.  Rodriguez was an honorable mention All-OBC selection last year.

Sanchez-Morales on the Lady Eagles:

“First of all, I am extremely excited to be back at Poinciana. For personal reasons after only one season with the Eagles, I had to step down as the Head Volleyball Coach. But now, I am looking forward to the upcoming season, building our program, and establishing the culture I envisioned two seasons ago.”


Head Coach:        Ninoshka Andujar-Valentin 

2021 Record:       1-10 (1-5 OBC)

Top Returning Players:

  • Olivia Lettsome , Sr., RSH
  • Nadia Soto, Sr., L 
  • Zullyam Lozada, Sr., OH

Top Newcomers:

Kamireilys N. Rodrigues, So., DS 

Charlene Chavez, Sr., DS

The Scoop:  

First-year head coach Ninoshka Andujay-Valentin faces a rebuilding project after the Lady Chargers managed just one victory last year.  Help could come from Kamireilys Rodrigues, a talented sophomore whose family just moved from Puerto Rico.

Andujar-Valetin on Lady Chargers:

“Our goal for this season is to rebuild and strengthen our volleyball program, while reaching out to our community.”