By: Matt Rothman
Coral Springs Charter High School has had quite the success in athletics these past few years. Their softball teams have won the last five state championships. The women’s tennis team reached the State Finals, and their baseball team is always in contention of winning their league.
Now their volleyball team can be added to the list. After not winning a single game in the 2015 season, the Panthers have moved on to win 49 matches the past four seasons — including two of their first three matches during conference.
In her first season as head coach, Sammy Harwell is extremely grateful for the players that she has inherited.
“We do have a lot of talent on our team. We are coming off a season where we lost eight seniors, so it was like a rebuilding year, but we have been super successful. We’ve had our JV to move up to varsity and carry on a high level of play.”
The Panthers Volleyball team have another upper-class group of players with five seniors on the roster this year. Leading the way is Jordan Mills. However, the outside hitter is currently out due to a fractured thumb and is hoping to make it back for districts.
This has given other girls a chance for a more significant role although player D’loren Dejesus doesn’t seem to need it. Both Mills and Dejesus lead the team in kills and have a high volleyball IQ according to the coach. They have each been on the team for four years, and both bring a lot of energy to the team, which is extremely helpful for some of the younger players including Mills sister, Sydney.
Sydney Mills has taken on a considerable role setting up her sister as well as Dejesus for the kills.
“Coming in with a lot of players that have more experience than me is hard,” said Sydney. “I feel like I have learned to keep up with everything, and my team has helped me ever since my first game against one of the best teams in the districts.”
That matchup was against St. Thomas Aquinas where the Panthers were able to take a set off of them. The other two losses came against Boca Raton Christian and Cypress Bay.
For most of their wins this season, they have routinely come in just three sets. Pompano Beach, South Plantation, and Nova each took a set off of CSC and Marjory Stoneman Douglas took two, but the Panthers came away with a win in all those matchups, most recently, Thursday’s night match against Fort Lauderdale three sets to one.
The Panthers do not have a large roster with just nine girls. Another player is Alexandra Bruno. While she has not played much this season, she has impressed her coach with her worth ethic.
“For as good of a player she is, we have so much talent on this team,” Harwell said. “She probably isn’t used to sitting much on the bench, but is extremely talented and a player we are lucky to have.”
CSC will have five more remaining games on the season with two of them taking place at home. The Panthers will hope to continue their success this season to win another District Championship as they did in 2017.
- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is now attending the University of Florida as a graduate student. Matt also covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writer, the New York Mets for Last Word on Baseball and Florida Gators Athletics for ESPN Gainesville.
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