Seminole Ridge Boys Volleyball Squad Soaring With Success

The Seminole Ridge High School 2024 boys varsity volleyball team. Photo by Richard Areyzaga Jr.

The Seminole Ridge High School boys varsity volleyball team has had a terrific regular season, and head coach Scott Barnwell is optimistic that his squad will have a deep postseason run in the upcoming Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state playoffs next month.

“This is, by far, my best-ever [boys volleyball] team while coaching at Seminole Ridge,” Barnwell said. “As I look at my roster, nobody is a weak link.”

The Hawks have completed their regular season with a 19-6 record. One of the big keys to the squad’s success is the overall positive mental attitude of all the players on the roster and the veteran leadership from the team’s seven seniors.

“I have a great group of players who love playing the sport of volleyball and enjoy playing volleyball with one another,” said Barnwell, now in his sixth season coaching boys volleyball at Seminole Ridge.

Seniors Owen Holowecky, Michael Molina and Jonathan Benitez are leading by example. Holowecky, the team’s captain and a Long Island University commit, is leading the team in kills, kills per set, hitting percentage, serving aces and aces per set. Molina is the team’s top performer in digs and digs per set. Benitez has accumulated the team’s most assists.

In the digs and digs per set categories, the top three players are all seniors — Molina, Benitez and Holowecky. In the hitting percentage category, the top three players are also all seniors — Holowecky, Brandon Burke and David Brevik. In the assists category, the top three performers are seniors as well — Benitez, Holowecky and Trevor Block. Finally, in the serving aces and aces per set categories, the top three statistical leaders are yet again seniors — Holowecky, Benitez and Molina.

Another one of Seminole Ridge’s strengths is its height.

“My two middle blockers — Brandon Burke and Carson Kramer — are tall and talented,” Barnwell said. “Brandon is 6-foot-7, and Carson is 6-foot-3.”

According to Barnwell, Holowecky, who stands 6-foot-4, is one of the top setters in the state, who has great vision and anticipation skills.

“Owen sees things happening on the volleyball court before they actually happen, and he knows how to respond,” Barnwell explained.

The local district tournament gets underway on Monday, April 29. How well the Hawks play in that district tournament will determine their seeding in the FHSAA regional playoffs that start Tuesday, May 7.

The goal for every boys high school volleyball program in Florida is to reach the FHSAA’s state championships, which will feature the final eight high school boys volleyball teams in Florida. Those state championship games will be held May 17-18 at Polk State College’s Winter Haven Health Center.