Maitland Middle's volleyball team falls in semis after finishing a perfect season.

The Hawks went 10-1 this season behind a balanced offense and defense.

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  • | 12:58 p.m. December 21, 2017
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Going undefeated throughout the season is something that not many teams get to do.

But at Maitland Middle School, it’s become the norm.

Led by sixth-year head coach Kim Musante, the Lady Hawks volleyball team has quietly become a middle-school powerhouse in Central Florida.

Although for the teams that the Hawks have played this season, it hasn’t been so quiet. The team, comprising sixth- through eighth-graders, has absolutely dominated the competition.

“The best way to describe the season is that I ended up with players (who) wanted to work very hard together,” Musante said. “There is always talent every single year, but there is something special about this team that they are all encouraging and helping each other to get better.”

That hard work has seriously paid off for the Hawks this year, as they built up a perfect 7-0 regular season record —before going 3-0 in the playoffs before falling to Bridgewater 20-25, 16-25 in the semifinal. 

But the most impressive accomplishment so far about this team is that during their 10-game winning streak, the Hawks did not dropped a single set — going 14-0. It’s the second straight regular season in-a-row that the Hawks have yet to lose a set.

The incredible stats shouldn’t be too big of a surprise when one considers the past eight seasons of Hawks’ volleyball. Since the 09/10 season, the Hawks have gone 51-8, which includes five undefeated regulars seasons, five cluster championships, one OCPS county title and four county runner-up finishes.

For Musante, the success starts with a simple whiteboard she put up at the beginning of the season.

“I was like, ‘Hey managers, if you want to put a quote on the board, put a quote on the board to start the day, and we’ll read it,” Musante said. “Well, the managers put quotes on the board, and they’re always pretty inspiring.

“It’s always about how to be better human beings, and I think that’s what makes this team better — that they’re all trying to be supportive to each other about being good human beings and being good teammates,” she said.

The two-pronged approach to the game is best seen in Merrell Colado and Lexie Hage. Colado has stepped up as a key figure in the kindness aspect of the team, while Hage has become the athletic leader of the team. Other players such as Lily Zera have also become cogs in the Hawks’ proverbial wheel.

Though Maitland weren’t able to make it to the title game, the Hawks will look to next season to claim that ever-elusive county title. The Hawks last won the title in the 10/11 season.

Although a trophy is always the goal, Musante also wants her athletes to grow throughout the season. 

“My goal for the girls at the beginning of the season is to make them a little bit better,” she said. “I just want them to leave having a great time representing their school, and to be better people and better players when they leave me.”



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