Top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas, according to LaxPower.com’s regional ratings, moved one step closer to a long-awaited matchup after routing host Archbishop McCarthy 19-3 in the first round play-in Tuesday afternoon.
The Raiders (15-2) will travel to Miami Columbus on Thursday.
If they advance past that game, four-time state champion Boca Raton St. Andrew’s would visit Tuesday night in the third round play-in.
“We’re hoping that we’re starting to get on a roll again,” coach Terry Crowley said. “Losing two games in the middle of the season and building back up. We have to hope we’re battle-tested enough because we’ve played a lot of the top-10 schools, and we’ll be ready at a real high level.”
Senior Griffin Melzer scored four of his five goals in the first quarter as the Raiders jumped out to a 6-1 lead. Aquinas extended it to 13-1 before the Mavericks (11-9) lit the scoreboard again.
Junior R.J. Curtin recorded seven points — three goals and four assists.
Senior goalie Mike Moorehead tallied 19 first-half saves and 22 overall for McCarthy.
“We’re dynamic and ready to win this year,” said Melzer, who has 26 goals on the season. “We’re excited. We want to win and get back to St. Andrew’s.”
• First round state play-in — South Plantation 12, Douglas 11: South Plantation got payback on Douglas and did so with a win-or-go-home stage as the Paladins edged the Eagles in the first-round play-in game at South Plantation.
South Plantation will play at St. Thomas Aquinas in the second-round play-in game Friday night.
Trailing 8-7 with 15 minutes to play, the Paladins strung together three straight goals to take a 10-8 lead with just over 11 minutes to play that turned the tide.
Laura Swanson scored to tie the game at 8. Natalie Quinchia followed shortly after to give the Paladins a 9-8 lead and finally, Kayla Riley scored for a 10-8 lead. Douglas got to within 10-9, but Riley and Quinchia responded for a 12-9 lead with 7:56 to play.
Rather than keep the pressure, the Paladins (16-2) tried to play keep away and Douglas’ Selena Lugo scored and Sabrina Kaplan followed with 32 seconds to play cutting it to one leaving one critical draw left.
“We needed to get that draw,” South Plantation coach Hillary Grimes said. “If we didn’t we could have been looking at overtime.”
The Paladins got the draw and were able to keep it away from the Eagles (12-3) to finish the win.
Swanson and Riley led South Plantation with four goals each.