Lady Sharks’ Season Ends In Letdown At State Tournament

The 2012-2013 volleyball season came to an abrupt halt for the Lady Sharks after losing in the elimination round against Hillsborough Community College on Nov. 4 at the Florida College System Activities Association State Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla..

Had the Lady Sharks won, they would have been the reigning state champs for six years in a row. This is only the third time in the history of Miami Dade College volleyball  that the team has not won states and only the second time that it did not go to nationals — the other time was in 1988.

In 2006, the Lady Sharks were the runner up in states and went on to nationals.

“We were flat,” head coach Origenes Benoit said. “The other team played well, we made a couple of errors in a tight game that killed us. We started out strong, but we didn’t play to our full potential.”

The Sharks had a rough start in the tournament losing their first match on Nov. 2 to Florida State College at Jacksonville 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14); a team the Lady Sharks had beat in the regular season 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-18) on Oct. 13.

On Nov. 3 the Lady Sharks had to play two games as a result of losing their first game. They defeated Broward College in their first match 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-21) and went on to beat Florida State College at Jacksonville 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-18).

The following day the Lady Sharks were eliminated after losing to Hillsborough Community College 3-2 (22-25, 26-24, 25-23, 14-25, 15-10) in the semifinal.

“I don’t know what really happened, we couldn’t finish the game,” captain Marti Poole said.

Poole said she was heartbroken after the game because she knew the type of team they were.

“It was such a shock because we had so much potential and we are such a great team; it was hurtful and tearful,” Poole said.

Although the Lady Sharks lost and could not reach their goal of winning a national title, freshman Giuliana Ballarin and Poole both said that they had a great season nonetheless.  They finished the season with a (19-9) record and went undefeated in Southern Conference play (8-0).

“We were a great team, and we still are a great team,” Poole said.  “We got cut short; it was a bittersweet season because it was a good team and good season, but we couldn’t go as far as we wanted.”

Athletic Director Tony Fiorenza hoped that the Lady Sharks’ season would have ended differently.

“It’s disappointing because they did the best they could, and they lost. We want our girls to win, but this time we lost,” Fiorenza said.

Ballarin had mixed emotions after the loss, but said she and the returning players talked it over as a team and are motivated to come back next year with vengeance.

“We want to come back stronger than ever next year, and we really want to show it in the court next season,” Ballarin said.