Never has a Dade County team reached the boys’ lacrosse third round state play-in — that is, until Friday.
Columbus upset St. Thomas Aquinas (15-3), which was previously ranked No. 1 in Florida by Laxpower.com, at home in the second round of state play-ins. The Explorers, who suffered an eight-goal loss to the Raiders in their regular-season matchup, now advance to face state power Boca Raton Saint Andrews — a game that they will once again host.
“We played harder [this time],” Columbus coach Jim DeLang said. “The little things in lacrosse make a difference. This is just effort for the most part.
“We wanted it a lot more than they did.”
Although the public address announcer asked the Columbus students not to rush the field at the final buzzer, they respectfully declined and ran on to celebrate with the team.
With the game tied at six entering the fourth quarter, Columbus scored four consecutive goals for the decisive run. Attackers Steven Hernandez and Grant Nordlund, who each finished with three goals, both scored twice during Columbus’ surge.
Hernandez added to his single-season school scoring record of 104 points as he and Nordlund displayed their on-field chemistry assisting each other three times.
Michael Davide had 14 saves in the net for Columbus.
Belen had six athletes sign with colleges on Friday, including four football players.
Running back/defensive back Alex Diblasi signed with Carnegie Mellon, offensive lineman/tight end Guillermo Pujals signed with Union College in Schenectady, NY, running back Alex Alvarez signed with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and quarterback/wide receiver Ryan Murphy signed with Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Tennis standout Juan Lorido signed with Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Water polo standout Jake Guso signed with George Washington University.
• District 14-8A final — Goleman 9, Coral Gables 1: Even though it never rained, Goleman head coach Jose Lopez was soaking wet Friday night. And he didn’t mind one bit.
That’s because his players had just doused him not once but twice with water coolers following the Gators’ victory over Coral Gables at Flamingo Park.
The win marked the second consecutive district title for Goleman, which also beat Gables last year, and the Gators will host Hialeah on May 1 in the regional quarterfinal.
While they had plenty of hits, eight of Goleman’s nine runs were unearned thanks to four Gables errors. After the teams traded a run in the first, the Gators (19-6) broke loose with three runs in the second and never looked back.
Eddie Rodriguez replaced starter Christian Abad after two innings and went the rest of the way, giving up just two hits and no runs to record the win.
“Just a great effort tonight by all of the kids, especially Eddie [Rodriguez] who really came in slammed the door all night on them,” said Lopez.
WP: E. Rodriguez (2-0) LP: O. Rodriguez (3-4) Top performers: J. Guia 2-4, 1 RBI
• District 15-8A final — Sunset 7, Southwest 4: After Southwest upset Columbus and eliminated the Explorers out of the postseason Thursday, Sunset took the district crown from the Eagles Friday.
Sunset won its first district title in the school’s 34-year history.
Alex Bravo had a two-run double as part of a six-run second inning for the Knights (18-7).
Caleb Horvat picked up the win for his 3 2/3 innings in relief, and Michael Paez recorded his fifth save of the season.
WP: Caleb Horvat (2-1). SV: Michael Paez (5). Top performers: Horvat 3 2/3 IP in relief, R. Alex Bravo double, 2 RBI. SUN 18-7.
Late Thursday — District 16-6A final — Mater Academy 6, Belen 5
WP: Amado Chirinos (2-0). Top performers: Michael Mediavilla (MA) 1-4, go-ahead 2-R HR. Danny Reyes 2-4, HR, 2 RBI. JC Escarra 1-2, 2 BB. MA 24-3.
Late Thursday — District 15-4A final — La Salle 7, TERRA 2
WP: Sergio Miyares (4-3). Top performers: Nick Canino 3-3, double, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB. Miyares 6 IP, R, 3 K. Anders Gutierrez IP, R, 3 K.
Late Thursday — District 14-4A final — Pace 8, Archbishop Carroll 2
WP: Jonathan Hernandez. LP: Salugeria. Top performers: Hernandez 5 IP, 10K, 0 ER. David Palenzuela 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, R. Anthony De la Cruz 2-3, RBI.
• Late Thursday — District 16-4A final — St. Brendan 3, Gulliver 2: Gerson Sotolongo GW HR in 7th.
• Mater Academy d. Monsignor Pace 27-25, 25-18, 25-16: Ryan Marinez 19 assists, 5 kills. Roderick Golden 9 kills, 3 aces. Michael Obourke 3 kills, 6 blocks. MA 9-5.
• Late Thursday — Coral Reef d. Florida Christian 25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 22-25, 17-15: Cedric Hankerson 14 kills, 4 blocks. Malik Audain 12 kills, 12 points. Anthony Caba 44 assists, ace, 3 kills, 3 blocks. CR 18-6.