“It’s hard to appreciate it right now, but we went 19-3,” Columbus coach Jim DeLang said. “We lost to [Saint Andrew’s] 17-0 last year, and we were in the game right to the end. We played them well.”
After Columbus tied it at 10 four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Scots outscored the Explorers 6-1 the rest of the way for the decisive swing of momentum.
Saint Andrew’s outshot Columbus 57-24 Tuesday, and the Scots had an 18-2 advantage on second-half face-offs.
Connor Whipple scored five goals for Saint Andrew’s. Columbus attacker Grant Nordlund led the Explorers with four.
• District 12 semifinal — Mourning d. Hialeah Gardens 25-20, 27-29, 25-12, 25-14: Matheus Mera scored eight consecutive third-set service points to help the host Sharks defeat the Gladiators.
Mera had a game-high 18 kills, seven aces and three blocks.
Teammate Werner Sabban had 14 kills, four blocks and an ace. Daniel Barrera added 10kills and six digs.
The Sharks struggled, at times, against the Gladiators. Mourning trailed earlier in the first set after Hialeah Gardens started on a 3-0 run. Hialeah Gardens held their lead till midway in the set when the Sharks tied the game at nine on a kill by Sabban. Moments later, a second Sabban kill allowed the Sharks to slowly pull away.
The second set started similarly for Mourning. Trailing 7-3, the Sharks rallied to tie the game at 22, but the Gladiators played them point for point until eventually winning the set on a tip that Mourning miss played.
“We started a little lazy,” Mera said. “As the game went on we started playing like we usually play.”
The victory sets up a rematch of last year’s District 12 final, with Mourning hosting Hialeah-Miami Lakes at 5 p.m. Thursday. .
“They beat us last year. We really want that title,” Mera said.
In the first of two semifinals hosted by Mourning, Hialeah-Miami Lakes beat Monsignor Pace 25-21, 25-12, 25-16.
The Trojans’ Dennis Perez had 31assists, 14 points, seven digs and six aces in the straight-set victory.
“It was a hard game. [Pace] brought everything to the table,” he said. “We are lucky to enough to come with a win.”
After a slow start, Pace rallied from a seven-point deficit to close Hialeah-Miami Lakes’ lead to 23-21 in the first set. The two-point difference would be the closest the Spartans would come to winning a set in the match. The Trojans would go on to score the next two points on a block by Malik Morrow and a set-winning spike by Perez.
“I was trying to keep serving my best,” Perez said.
Teammate Gus Pena had 13 kills, nine digs and three blocks. Manny Celestino had 14 digs, 11 kills and 10 points.
• District 16 semifinal — Palmetto d. Westminster Christian 25-6, 25-5, 25-17: Five sets were needed for the Barracudas (19-6) to defeat the Cougars (12-9) in the District 16 semifinal at Palmetto Senior High School. Palmetto (15-10) played its semifinal game earlier and defeated Westminster Christian 25-6, 25-5, 25-17. Coral Reef and Palmetto will play the District 16 final at Palmetto at 6 p.m. Thursday.
With the sets even at two apiece, each team traded points and soon the score was tied, 8-8. The Cudas finished with a 7-2 run to win the set, game and semifinal. The winning point came on a kill by Zavier Peart.