Water Polo

Belen’s strong defense the key


Jimmy Aguilera, with four goals, and keeper Ryan Gusso, who stopped 12 shots, led the Belen boys.

Special to The Miami Herald

Belen’s mantra of strong defense was in full effect to get them a 14-6 win over Miami Country Day at the first-round state play-in Tuesday.

The Wolverines will play Orlando Dr. Phillips in the state quarterfinals at Ransom Everglades.

Jake Guso, who coach Jimmy Aguilera calls the leader of the team, paced Belen (26-1) with four goals. Herzen Cortes and Santiago Nunez added three apiece.

Goalkeeper Ryan Guso had 12 saves to anchor the strong Belen defense from the net.

Giovanni Craggnotti scored three goals for Miami Country Day, whose season ended after a come-from-behind district final win against Hialeah.

•  Girls’ first-round state play-in — Ransom Everglades 21, Miami Country Day 3: The depth, experience and outright skill of the four-time defending state champion Raiders proved to be too much for the visiting Spartans.

Ransom, which will host the state playoffs from this round onward, advances to face Orlando Dr. Phillips in state quarterfinals.

The Raiders (25-1) opened by scoring the first five goals — four of which came from Chelsea Johnson — and 11 of the last 12. Johnson finished with six goals in limited minutes.

Sofia Carrera-Justiz had three goals and four assists, and Carolina Meneses added four goals.

Country Day’s season ended after winning its district with an overtime victory against MAST Academy.

•  Boys’ first-round state play-in — Gulliver 24, Mourning 8: As the first round of the state play-in concludes, both the Gulliver boys and girls will head to the state quarterfinals after beating Mourning.

Despite having a successful win in the district finals against MAST Academy, the Mourning boys’ couldn’t hold it together against the Raiders.

The Gulliver boys toppled the Sharks by scoring the first goal and then never stopping.

Andres Guerra led the boys with eight goals, four steals and an assist. Additionally, Guerra drew four ejections against Mourning.

Assisting in the win was Hunter Pelletier who had nine assists, along with four goals. Jonathan Chow added 6 goals.

With this win, the boys will return to state finals to defend their 2011-12 championship.

The quarterfinal round will be a rematch against St. Thomas Aquinas, who the Raiders defeated 11-9 for the championship last season.


•  Girls’ first-round state play-in — Gulliver 19, Mourning 2: Gulliver came out ready to move on past their postseason loss last year. The Raiders defended their goal well and only allowed the Sharks to score two goals.

“We have a very strong team — I believe they are the best in the state,” Gulliver coach Carroll Vaughan said. “We have been planning for this all season.”

Leading the girls was Isa Granados who scored seven goals with five steals and five assists.

The team’s hard work and dedication will take them to the next round of the playoff against Suncoast Community High School for the quarterfinal match.


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