Only four out of 86 high school volleyball teams make it to the 8A FHSAA Girls Volleyball Finals, and the Coral Reef Senior High School team was one of them.
It was the first time in the school’s history that the girls volleyball team made it to the state competition. The road to the final four also included other historical firsts for the school – first-place finishes in the Greater Miami Athletic Conference volleyball tournament and Region 4-8A Championship.
“It really was a Cinderella story for us,” said Coral Reef head coach Yasmin Ortiz. “We weren’t expected to make it all the way.”
But they did. The team of four seniors, five juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen battled a tough team from Winter Park in the semi-final game held on Nov. 13 in Kissimmee. Although defeated, the Barracudas’ third place finish in the finals was a just reward for a successful season. The team ended their playing season with a 25-6 record
“Getting to the state finals was always the ultimate goal for this team, and the girls worked very hard to get there,” said coach Ortiz. “I went to state finals during high school, and I wanted these girls to experience that same success.”
Volleyball is Ortiz’s passion. After high school, she attended college on a volleyball scholarship, played pro volleyball and coached at the college level. This is the fifth year she has coached the Coral Reef girls team, and each year the number in her team’s win column has increased. Ortiz also serves as the boys volleyball coach and teaches Honors Biology and Spanish at Coral Reef.
With a year-round focus on conditioning and training, there is no doubt that the Coral Reef girls volleyball team will be a force to be reckoned with again next year.