Down 8-3 in the third set of a 1-1 match after Ferguson scored seven consecutive points, Coral Reef’s volleyball team made adjustments and regrouped, something it has done all season.
Bouncing back with four points of their own, the host Barracudas went on a 10-5 run on their way to besting the Falcons, 3-1 (25-17, 18-25, 25-20, 25-23), Tuesday night in the 4-8A regional quarterfinal.
“It means everything,” said senior captain and setter Daniela Leal, who finished with 11 kills, two blocks, 24 assists and 11 digs. “Me as well as the rest of the team, we’ve been training so hard to have that one common goal of wanting to go far this season, and I think that really showed today. We came out of that second set and realized we have to push harder and we decided whoever wants it most is going to win the game.”
In the first set, the Barracudas (23-5) came back from an early 3-0 deficit and broke out to a 21-16 advantage before closing out on a 4-1 run.
Ferguson (19-8) captured the second set, leading by as many as 10 points thanks to a 20-13 run after a 5-5 score. Daniela Suarez recorded eight kills and two blocks, while Annika Reczek collected 10 kills and two blocks for the match.
Following a back-and-forth third set, the Barracudas jumped out to a five-point lead and never relinquished it, solidifying the victory despite several Falcon runs that made it a one-point difference late in the fourth set.
Junior outside hitter Adara Anselmo produced 13 kills, one block and 17 digs. Senior opposite hitter Baylee Waterman contributed 13 kills, three blocks and 11 digs in the winning effort.
Coral Reef will face a familiar opponent next Tuesday in the regional semifinal — Lourdes, which beat Palmetto. That match will also tie for the furthest the Barracuda program has ever reached in the postseason (also the regional semis in 2010).
The past two years, Coral Reef and the Bobcats split matches in the regional quarterfinal, with Lourdes winning in 2011 and the Barracudas in 2010.
“They realize it’s do-or-die, and when the game is on the line, especially for my three seniors that are on the lineup, they battle it out,” fifth-year coach Yasmin Ortiz said. They’re not done. They don’t want to be done. They’ve been working four years for this and that’s what we’re fueling with right now.”
• Region 4-8A quarterfinal – Lourdes d. Palmetto 25-20, 23-25, 25-10, 25-10: You can call it a happy coincidence that Lourdes (22-8, 10-2) avenged last year’s season-ending loss against Palmetto, defeating the Panthers in the Region quarterfinal at Columbus.
Bobcats coach Pedro Penate is content just to call it a win.
“We don’t focus on revenge or anything like that,” said Penate, whose team lost 3-1 to Palmetto in the playoffs last season. “We’re focused on where we’re playing and getting to the next step.”
The Bobcats fought off rallies by Palmetto (17-7, 13-2) and their own spate of miscues to win in four sets. Michele Marenus dominated the front of the net on her way to 15 kills and 10 digs, while set-up partner Annie Ortiz logged 25 assists and a two aces.
In the final set, Marenus dueled with her counterparts, Palmetto outside hitters Makayla Stephens (5 kills) and Taylor David (13 kills). Marenus had two identical powerful spikes to score the 22nd and 23rd points of the game. By then, the Bobcats had a commanding 13-point lead.
In the second set, Lourdes struggled with faults, fouls and poor ball control. The Panthers jumped out to a lead in the third, prompting Penate to call a timeout.
“The girls came in not as focused as I wanted them to be, so I called timeout, screamed at them a little bit, refocused them and they came out and played hard the rest of the game,” Penate said.
After the break, Bobcats outside hitter Isa Vilar went on a tear, recording four consecutive kills and putting Lourdes ahead for good. In the fourth set, the Lourdes jumped out to a big lead, and Caro Busse’s high-flying spike gave them a 14-6 lead.
Palmetto could not make up the difference down the stretch despite strong games by Jamie Comandeiro (25 assists, three aces, 12 digs) and libero Patricia De La Iglesia (15 digs). Lourdes went on an 11-4 run to close out the game.
The Bobcats face Coral Reef in the regional semifinals next Tuesday.
• Region 4-8A quarterfinal – Hieleah High d. Miami Beach 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 26-24: Hialeah High took three of four sets to win the match over Miami Beach in the Region 4-8A quarterfinal.
Hialeah High plays either Reagan or American next week in the semifinal.
Player of the game was Hialeah High’s Anicia Johnson with 8 kills, 2 blocks and 2 Aces.
“Anicia played really smart and had a great match,’’ T-Bred Coach Rosa Garcia on Johnson’s performance.
Annamarie Torres was instrumental to winning the last set, with a key block.
She finished with five blocks and seven kills.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal – Ransom d. Coral Shores 25-10, 25-7, 25-13: Host Ransom Everglades breezed pass Coral Shores in three consecutive sets to advance to next week’s regional semifinal.
“I think we did a good job staying in our spots defensively, reacting to the ball and not being taken by surprise,” Ransom assistant coach Geronimo Chala said. “Serving aggressively was also a huge key to our success tonight.”
Leading that aggressive approach was Nicole Cruz who led the team with 20 service points and 3 aces. Teammate Tere Bernace added to the stellar defensive performance with 12 digs, 11 passes and 2 aces.
Raiders outside hitter Kathryn Trinka led the team in the offensive attack recording 13 kills, 6 passes and 14 points won.
Ransom will face rival Gulliver next Tuesday.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal – Gulliver d. Carrollton 25-23, 25-16, 23-25, 25-12: Gulliver jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the first set. The Cyclones rallied and tied the set at 22, but lost on a four touches penalty.
Catherine Arnholt’s three aces in the second set helped the Raiders to a second victorious set, this time by a nine-point margin. With its season on the line, Carrollton played its best in the third set and won 25-23. Gulliver won the fourth set convincingly.
Arnholt led the Raiders with a season-high 47 assists. She also had a match-high seven aces. Madeline Benn had 19 kills and Stephanie Rubin had 23 digs.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal – Cardinal Gibbons d. Monsignor Pace 25-10, 25-16, 25-23: Even though Cardinal Gibbons is suffering through a rebuilding year and not quite the juggernaut of past seasons, the task was still a tall one for the Monsignor Pace Spartans. Hosting Gibbons, which did not win its district for the first time in 10 years, Pace was still up against plenty of talent and wound up falling to the Chiefs in three sets.
Gibbons (12-11) will move on to the regional semifinals and face Chaminade next week in a rematch of last week’s district final. Pace finished its season 18-7.
“We simply did not play well in that first set and it might have been a case of nerves,’’ said Pace coach Markia Brown-Seetal. “It just took us a while to settle down because we played better in the second game and then really well in the third and thought we could get it to a fourth. We struggled on the transition all night and that cost us.’’
Pace was led by Sharell Naim, who had five kills, three blocks, six digs and 10 service points, along with Janine Wettergren, who recorded 12 digs, one ace and three service points.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal – Chaminade d. Edison 25-8, 25-6, 25-9: Chaminade’s girls’ volleyball team must have had plans to watch the Miami Heat’s season opening game as they defeated visiting Miami Edison 25-8, 25-6, 25-9 in a match that took less than 50 minutes.
The Lions (23-3) will face Cardinal Gibbons — a team they defeated twice already this season — in the Region 4-4A semifinal.
Chaminade set an early tone and wasted little time getting out in front.
Senior outside hitter Jordan Palmer led the Lions, who lost in the district semifinals last season, with 26 points and 16 aces.
Sydney Armbrister added 11 points, with six aces and four kills.
Chaminade coach Jason Johnson is weary of the upcoming tilt with Cardinal Gibbons.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times in the same season,’’ Johnson said. “But we’re going to prepare the way we know how and go from there.’’
• Region 4-2A quarterfinal - Calusa Prep d. Princeton Christian, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, 25-16: Victoria Alexander led Calusa Prep (9-7) to its first regional quarterfinal win with 16 kills. Miranda Ledoiro had 17 kills. Katelyn Lucas had 14 digs.
• District 16-4A: Coral Reef’s boys and South Dade’s girls swept the championships Tuesday at Larry and Penny Thompson Park. Coral Reef’s Kurt Convey won the individual boys’ title in 16:35.88. South Dade’s Barbra Violson won the girls’ race in 20:07.60.
• Team scores – Boys: 1. Coral Reef 35; 2. Varela 45; 3. South Dade 63; 4. Killian 100; 5. Southridge 125; Girls: 1. South Dade 24; 2. Coral Reef 32; 3. Killian 84; 4. Southridge 106. Individual results – Boys: 1. Kurt Convey (CR) 16:35.88; 2. Fabian Delgado (KIL) 17:07.65; 3. Angelous Serna (VAR) 17:26.51; 4. Carlos Lopez (CR) 17:31.66; 5. Arthur Alcuria (VAR) 17:37.66; 6. Antonio Ferguson (SD) 17:57.00; 7. Jafet Molinares (VAR) 17:59.51; 8. Richard Gomez (SD) 18:10.91; 9. Jeremy Abdo (CR) 18:19.38; 10. Makenzo Rosemond (CR) 18:28.51; 11. Mateo Galvis (CR) 18:29.03; 12. Wells Jeudi (SD) 18:34.05; 13. Ivan Langesfeld (CR) 18:35.88; 14. Kristian Goodger (VAR) 18:46.39; 15. Victor Lopez (CR) 19:07.89. Girls: 1. Barbra Vilson (SD) 20:07.60; 2. Lea Tardanico (VAR) 20:19.39; 3. Samara Taylor (CR) 20:54.27; 4. Asha Alvarez (SD) 21:25.61; 5. Lauren Holian (CR) 21:29.16; 6. Stephany Valesco (SD) 21:39.28; 7. Dashanay Hardy (SD) 21:53.08; 8. Carla Rodriguez (CR) 22:07.27; 9. Kaelyn Korovich (CR) 22:11.81; 10. Tieasha Collier (SD) 22:14.93; 11. DiCaria Alvarez (SD) 22:27.61; 12. Anna Ballate (CR) 22:35.14; 13. Carly Medina (CR) 22:54.83; 14. Raivo Andrian (CR) 23:44.83; 15. Tenka Stringer (KIL) 24:20.18.
• District 14-4A: Columbus won the boys’ and Coral Gables won the girls’ titles Tuesday at Larry and Penny Thompson Park. The Explorers took the top five boys spots led by Daniel Fernandez’s 16:42.07. Coral Park’s Veerley Mejia won the girls’ individual title in 22:10.81.
• Team scores – Boys: 1. Columbus 15; 2. Coral Park 51; 3. Coral Gables 65; 4. Braddock 109; Girls: 1. Coral Gables 28; 2. Coral Park 32; 3. Braddock 73; 4. Miami High 110. Individual results – Boys: 1. Daniel Fernandez (COL) 16:42.07; 2. Daniel Linares (COL) 16:51.91; 3. Marcos Garcia (COL) 17:09.24; 4. Patrick Cabrera (COL) 17:11.75; 5. Pedro Hernandez (COL) 17:14.90; 6. Alexander Elortegu (CG) 17:21.24; 7. Carlos Budyszewick (CP) 18:10.73; 8. Leonel Pozo (CP) 18:15.27; 9. Christian Marenco (CP) 18:19.71; 10. Coby Sanchez (CG) 18:42.42; 11. Alvaro Rivadeneira (BR) 18:44.50; 12. Eduardo Mejia (CP) 18:49.14; 13. Ryan Savejdiha (COL) 18:57.87; 14. Carson Morris (CG) 19:13.21; 15. Jorge Velasco (CP) 19:21.90. Girls: 1. Veerley Mejia (CP) 22:10.81; 2. Lauren Kerzner (CG) 22:27.62; 3. Maria Ruiz (CP) 22:34.91; 4. Victoria Convey (CG) 22:41.00; 5. Tamara Mekler (CG) 23:04.66; 6. Ashley Pozo (CP) 23:18.12; 7. Yessica Maltes (CP) 23:33.81; 8. Stephanie Robinson (CG) 23:53.59; 9. Allison Pena (CG) 24:31.35; 10. Kim Berthier (CG) 24:46.81; 11. Gabriela Gutierrez (CG) 25:13.92; 12. Natalia Galindo (BR) 25:16.49; 13. Yilen Amador (BR) 25:23.53; 14. Joyce Caba (BR) 25:47.11; 15. Selena Serrano (CP) 26:12.12.
• District 15 final – 1. Hialeah Gardens, 2. Reagan: High Game: Ernest Barrientos (HG) 22. Top ten: 1. Ernest Barrientos (HG) 567, 2.Ryan Shipman (ATM) 547; 3. Paris Webb (G) 523, 4. Alan Neiman (ATM) 493, 5. Jose Gomez (R) 452, 6. Carlos Ibanez (A) 443, 7. Omar Hafeez (ATM) 439, 8. Orlando Perez (A) 438, 9. Andre Barrientos (HG) 431, 10. Mathieu Allouch (MB) 430.
• District 15 final – 1. Goleman, 2. American: High Game: Briana Futch (A) 257. Top ten: 1. Briana Futch (A) 623, 2.Catherine Gutierrez (G) 448, 3. Shana Murphy (K) 395, 4. Vanessa Galvez (G) 379, 5. Gabriela Sallai (G) 367, 6. Natalie Ochoa-Odon (R) 364, 7. Karina Fernandez (HG) 356, 8. Caroline Zampregano (G) 334, 9. Yuraisy Hernandez (HG) 331, Yureisy Hernandez (HG) 331.