Host Ransom Everglades made it to state in volleyball for the first time since 1994 with a straight-sets regional final win over Chaminade on Saturday afternoon.
But the next step figures to be the most difficult of all as the Raiders (28-2) will play Orlando’s Bishop Moore (30-0) in a Class 4A state semifinal on Friday at 4 p.m. in Kissimmee.
Saturday’s 25-20, 25-13, 25-12 win over Chaminade snapped a streak of six consecutive years in which Ransom had been eliminated by a Broward County team in the regionals.
It was also the third time this season that Ransom had defeated Chaminade (24-4), a quality opponent that beat just about everybody on its schedule this season except for the Raiders.
“This feels unreal,” said senior Kathryn Trinka, who led Ransom with 16 kills. “I wasn’t expecting the game to go so short. It feels like we were supposed to still be in the game right now.”
The game ended so quickly because of Trinka, junior setter Nikki Colonna (26 assists) and senior Nicole Cruz (12 service points), among others.
Cruz said Ransom’s earlier wins over Chaminade “boosted our confidence.”
Chaminade coach Jason Johnson, who led the Lions to the state semifinals in 2009 and had been 5-2 in elimination games against Ransom entering Saturday, gave the Raiders credit.
“They played well, and we made our fair share of errors,” he said. “Some of that is them putting us in bad spots.”
• Region 4-1A: Overlooked by the so-called cross-country experts heading into the Region 4-1A championships, Miami Westminster Christian sixth-grader Hailey Mira’s stirring rally from seventh place to a runner-up finish paced the Warriors to their first regional girls’ title.
The Warriors’ No. 4 runner going into the regional championships, Mira finished in a career-best 20:51 to highlight an upset-filled girls’ race at the Westminster Academy Sports Complex.
“I was expecting to finish 15th,” Mira said. “When I was going down the last hill my coach said to run as fast as I could. I just tried to push my hardest, and I did it. I was nervous. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. This gives me a lot of confidence going into states. I am hoping for first place.”
The top 15 individuals and top six teams advance to the FHSAA state finals at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee on Nov. 17.
Mira and Calvary Christian eighth-grader Nicole Taggart, a surprise region champion (20:43), stole the spotlight from region co-favorites Westminster Academy’s Amanda Baker, who dropped out with a quadriceps injury, and Florida Christian’s fifth-place finisher Victoria Camargo.
Warriors coach Jose Garcia said Mira’s push at the two-mile mark provided the spark to place five runners in the top 21, including Victoria Hoppe, Cali Gumpel Natasha Strump, Kelsey Mira — Hailey’s twin sister — and Nicole Romanach, and ultimately help the Warriors earn their first state berth since 2008.
“We knew how good Hailey was, but it was up to her,” Garcia said. “She went out there and did it. She was about 20 feet away from the fourth girl in the pack and right there she just put a move down the hill, caught up to the pack and ran away. It was awesome.”