The Miami Dade College volleyball team won 30 of 34 games last year and came within a victory of a National Championship. With six players— Silvia Galeano, Eirini Chatziefstratiadou, Merrisa Murphy, Kathryn Hogan, Adriana Peña, and Carelis Rojas— from that team moving onto other universities to continue their athletic careers, the team has bolstered its roster with new faces.
Some of the top newcomers include middle blockers Tyrecia Lukes from Miami and Deborah Constanzo from the Dominican Republic, right side hitter/setter Yamilet Velazquez and libero Jorddaly’s Santos, both from Puerto Rico.
That crop of talented players will bolster a strong sophomore class that includes outside hitter Yorgleys Jaspe, setter Kelsey Taylor, right side hitter Thalia Torres and libero Adara Anselmo.
“[The returning players] are the ones that should be very, very hungry to win it all because they were so close last year and we came up in second,” said Head coach Origines “Kiko” Benoit. “Second is not bad, but we want to win it all.”[sam id=”3″ codes=”true”]
The Lady Sharks will also have a new assistant coach this year after longtime assistant James Exley, who had been with the squad for 10 years, took an assistant coaching position at Delaware State University.
Exley will be replaced by Kelly Dantas-McFarlane a former volleyball player who previously coached with Rebelle Athletics and at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School.
“Hitting and blocking is what I came to help with,” Dantas-McFarlane said. “I have large expectations”
And expectations loom large for a team that made it to the national championship game last year. Benoit said he expects the team to give maximum effort; the rest will take care of itself.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are, but if you work as an individual in a team sport, you’re not going to go anywhere,” Benoit said. “We’re going to continue working hard as a team.”
The Lady Sharks start the regular season on Sept. 4 at the San Jacinto Community College Tournament in Pasadena, Texas.