Danielle Leal had eight kills, 15 digs and a team-leading 20 assists to lead Coral Reef to a 25-19, 12-25, 14-25, 25-22, 17-15 victory over Lourdes Academy in the Region 8-4A semifinals on Monday night.
After several years of being stopped in the regional preliminaries, the Barracudas will be headed to the regional finals to meet Ronald Reagan High.
“Every year we have been knocked out by Lourdes,” said Leal, the team captain. “This was my last year to do it. When were down after the second set it took a whole set for us to come back.”
After losing the first set, Lourdes rallied by outscoring the Barracudas (23-5) in the second and third sets.
“We fought all year,” Lourdes coach Pedro Penate said. “After losing the first and fourth set we had a hard time overcoming the hump. They played a great game.”
Said Coral reef coach Yasmin Ortiz: “We have been building momentum all season long. We have just tried to maintain control. To play at this level is stressful, and the only player we have who has played at this level is Leal. We have been working hard every day.”
Baylee Waterman had a strong third set to help to return the momentum to Coral Reef.
“It is so amazing that we pulled together,” said Waterman, who recorded 17 kills and three blocks.
After winning the fourth set Lourdes had regained the momentum and the team seemed to relax and play more at ease. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Coral Reef’s determined performance.
“I could taste the win,” said Paulina Perssons, who had 31 digs and helped the Barracudas make their first regional final. “We had to keep everything off [the] floor.”
• Region 4-8A semifinal — Reagan d. Hialeah 26-24, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23: Already treading in unchartered waters by making its first appearance in a regional semifinal game, the Reagan girls’ volleyball team decided that it was still too early for the party to end.
The host Bison knocked off Hialeah in a razor-close Region 4-8A semifinal.
All four sets came down to the wire and the win advances Reagan (14-5) to Saturday’s regional final where it will be a decided underdog against Coral Reef.
Hialeah finished its season 19-5.
Reagan didn’t clinch the win without plenty of tense moments, the biggest coming at the end when it led 24-20 in the fourth set and watched as the T-Breds fought off three consecutive match points to cut it to 24-23.
That’s when Reagan setter Natalia Castro pulled a fast one on her opponent, faking the set shot and shooting a quick shot over the net to a gap that Karla Moran dove for but could not handle, ending the match.
“I saw a small opening and decided to just go for it,” said Castro who finished with five kills, two blocks and 28 assists. “This is really exciting for us and a great feeling. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Kaitlyn Woods had 14 kills and two aces while Jessica Almeida pitched in nine kills and three aces.
“An overwhelming feeling and I’m just really excited for all of the girls because I know how hard they have worked to get to this point,” said Reagan coach Melissa Garcia. “We obviously will have our work cut out for us on Saturday but we’ll just go in there and do our best and see how it all works out.”
• South Miami 2, Southwest 1: Hubernesto Mutis 2 goals. SM 1-0.
• Ransom Everglades 5, Tavernier Coral Shores 0: Casey Collucci 3 goals. Jeremy Peters goal. Arthur Deakin. RE 1-0.
• Gulliver 8, St. Brendan 0: Alberto Poleo 3 goals, assist. Christian Arajo 2 goals. Nick Megaloudis goal, assist. GUL 1-0.
• Ferguson 5, Braddock 0: Agustin Galecio goal, assist. Julian Gonzalez goal, assist. Michael Mejia goal. FER 1-0. BRA 0-1.
• Dade Christian 2, International Studies Charter 1: Matthew Brian 2 goals. Ian Trotta 10 saves. DC 1-0.
• Westland Hialeah 2, American 2: Luigi Infanzon (WES) 2 goals. Maykol Valdes (WES) 2 assists. WES 0-0-1. AM 0-0-1.
• North Miami 2, Homestead 0.
• Miami Springs 8, Hialeah-Miami Lakes 0: Annet Cea 3 goals. Ale Salazar 2 goals. Sofia De la Puenta goal, assist. MS 4-0.
• Mater Academy 1, Goleman 0: Karly Villar goal. Elexus Martin assist. Julia Sanchez shutout. MA 4-0.
• Lourdes 8, Coral Park 0: Bailey Plummer 3 goals, assist. Michelle Figarola 2 goals, assist. Nicole Perez goal. LOU 3-0. CP 0-2-1.
• South Dade 9, Sunset 1: Jade Hayes 3 goals. McKenzie VanHeusen 2 goals, assist. Allie Ingram goal, assist. SD 3-0.
• South Miami 3, Southwest 1: Alina Carmona 2 goals. Rosemary Chavez goal, assist. Madison Askew assist. SM 3-1.
• TERRA 9, Jackson 0: Rachel Hairston 3 goals, assist. Natalie Diaz 3 goals, assist. Erin Bigler 2 goals, assist. Carlee Soeder goal, assist. Vivian Calderon 3 assists. TER 2-2.
• Mast Academy 5, Mourning 0: Maraina Speckmier 3 goals. Nati Gilbert 2 goals. MAST 1-0-1.
• Killian 10, Southridge 2: Stephanie Galindo 3 goals, assist. Emily Boggess 2 assists. Jayda Hamilton 2 goals. Rachel Kramer goal, 2 assists. Cristina Salabarria 3 goals, assist. Erika Foreman goal. KIL 2-1.
• Homestead 2, Central 1.
• Late Saturday – Gulliver 1, Doral Academy 1: Madeline Intriago (GUL) goal. Alissa Bello (DA) goal. Tatiana Hoyos (DA) assist. GUL 2-0-1. DA 0-1-1.
Region 4-4A semifinal: Ransom Everglades at Gulliver, 7
Region 4-3A semifinal: Palmer Trinity at Westminster Christian, 7
Region 4-2A semifinal: Sheridan Hills Christian at Greater Miami Academy, 7
Region 4-2A semifinal at Princeton Christian: Westwood Christian vs. Calusa Prep, 7
Pine Crest at Greater Miami Academy, 4
Monsignor Pace at Mater Lakes, 6
Columbus at Coral Park, 3:30
Florida Christian at Miami Country Day, 7
Archemedian at Westwood Christian, 4
Hillel at Archbishop Curley, 4
Gulliver Prep at Archbishop Carroll, 4
Pine Crest at Greater Miami Academy, 2
American at Homestead, 3:30
Monsignor Pace at Mater Lakes, 4
Florida Christian at Miami Country Day, 5
Archemedian at Princeton Christian, 4
University School at Ransom Everglades, 3:30
Palmer Trinity at Archbishop McCarthy, 4