You are here
Home > Sports > Chobee 14 volleyball makes its mark at AAU Nationals

Chobee 14 volleyball makes its mark at AAU Nationals

From left, the Seminole Tribe volleyball trio of Chaka Smith, Preslynn Baker and Alyssa Madrigal, who play on the Chobee 14 volleyball team, show the honors they received at the AAU Nationals in Orlando. Chobee 14 won the Pearl Division. (Courtesy photo)

It might be difficult for a team to stand out at the AAU Nationals – which features thousands of players – but the Chobee 14 girls team from the Chobee Volleyball Academy in Okeechobee managed to carve its own niche in a couple ways.

Chobee went undefeated in its four matches on the fourth and final day of the massive tournament that ran June 15-18 in Orlando. They also captured a division title and finished with a 9-4 record.

“We won the Pearl Division. We were 91 out of 190 [teams]. I would say that’s pretty good,” said Chobee 14 coach Monica Koger, who added that the event is the biggest volleyball tournament in the world. It stretches throughout June with multiple sessions. Chobee 14 played in session one.

Chobee 14 was the only team from the academy to compete in the tournament, which is literally packed with wall-to-wall volleyball.

Chobee 14 gets ready for one of its matches at the Orange County Convention Center. (Courtesy photo)

“It is intense. A little under 200 courts, volleyball on every single one of them all day,” Koger said.

Koger was thrilled with the way her team battled on the final day. She said some teams on the last day of a grueling tournament might not have the proper focus, but her squad was determined to depart the Orange County Convention Center with a plaque.

“You can always look at areas where you can improve. The last day, 4-0, that was the way to end the season,” she said.

The solid finish helped soothe some of the sting of early defeats. Chobee 14 went 2-1 on the first day and 1-2 on the second day.

“[Some of] those early matches that we lost we could have held on and won three of them,” Koger said.
The team is comprised of 11 players, including three Seminoles: Preslynn Baker, Alyssa Madrigal and Chaka Smith. Koger said the experience of playing and coaching against teams from throughout the country was invaluable. Chobee 14 faced a few teams that it sees at Florida tournaments, but also played teams from Georgia, Minnesota, Michigan, Puerto Rico, Tennessee and Texas.

Koger said she enjoyed seeing the different styles of play from the teams beyond Florida.

“Puerto Rico is completely different. They are a lot quicker,” she said.

High school volleyball is next for most of the players; several, including Madrigal and Smith, will attend Okeechobee; Baker will attend Moore Haven.

Chobee 14 Volleyball Team

Head coach: Monica Koger
Asst. coach: Ramona Baker
Asst. coach: Suraiya Smith
Asst. coach: Liann Whipple
Angely Acosta
Jenessa Arana
Preslynn Baker
Tatiana Flores
Lindy Harwas
Jadyn Jeune
Alyssa Madrigal
Emma Pereira
Daniela Sanchez
Chaka Smith
Azariah Washington

Above, Chobee 14 players wore pink jerseys for one day of the tournament as a way to help raise breast cancer awareness. Below, the team gets ready for one of its matches. (Courtesy photo)
Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at