Miami volleyball star hurt in condo collapse to hit ceremonial first serve

MIAMI — A Florida high school volleyball star who was seriously injured and lost her father when a condominium partially collapsed in June will hit a ceremonial serve when her team plays Saturday night.

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Deven Gonzalez, 16, a junior outside hitter at Miami Senior High School, will be featured at the service line when the Stingarees host TERRA Environmental Research Institute on Saturday night, the Miami Herald reported.

Gonzalez lost her father, Edgar Gonzalez, 45, when the Champlain Towers South condominium partially collapsed in the early hours of June 24. Deven Gonzalez’s left leg was crushed when the 13-story building crashed, the newspaper reported.

Deven Gonzalez lived with her parents on the ninth floor of the building. She and her mother, Angela Gonzalez, fell several stories before they were rescued on the fifth floor, CBS News reported.

Miraculously, Deven Gonzalez’s black cat, Binx, survived the building collapse and was found safe near the rubble of the condominium in early July, the Herald reported.

>> Surfside condo collapse: Binx the cat found safe, reunited with family

Deven Gonzalez had only attended one match this season, on Sept. 2 at Miami Beach, the Herald reported. The Stingarees (13-2) rallied to win the match in four sets.

“Once I saw her, I got happy,” teammate Sydney Wilson told the newspaper. “I really like Deven. She’s really nice to me.”

Deven Gonzalez suffered a broken femur and lost a lot of blood after she fell. Her mother was in a coma for five days before waking up on her birthday, the Herald reported.

She said she lost all of her volleyball medals that she had been accumulating since the sixth grade, but the loss of her father was devastating.

“I’m mourning the loss of my dad -- that’s the biggest one,” Deven Gonzalez told the Herald. “But I’m also mourning the loss of my home because that was like my entire life.

“The last part of my life that I lost was (the ability to play) volleyball. I didn’t lose it, but it feels like I did.”

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