WINTER HAVEN — Sophomore Polk State Volleyball player Yaritza Santiago will continue her career at the Division II level.
Santiago, a Second Team All-Suncoast Conference outside hitter, signed her National Letter of Intent in June to play for Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark. Henderson State competes in the Great American Conference.
"I was able to see the campus for myself and I liked it. I liked the gym and the science building. I liked the gym because it was big and I also liked the locker room," Santiago said.
Santiago hopes that her Polk State College playing experience — including contributing to its first Suncoast Conference Championship in 2011 and a state tournament appearance that same year — can turn into success at the next level.
"I enjoyed my team this past season. I am appreciative and happy to be on the first team to win a conference championship," said Santiago. "I learned a lot and as a result I am a better player on and off the court."
Santiago said she especially appreciates the influence then-Assistant Coach German Del Valle had on her game; Del Valle has since been named interim head coach of the team.
As a sophomore at Polk, Santiago appeared in all 37matches, recorded six assists, 244 kills, 30 blocks, and 315 digs.
Prior to her arrival at Polk, Santiago played her freshman season at Universidad de Puerto Rico before moving with her family to Orlando.
"I am excited to have an opportunity to play at the next level," she said.