When the Cypress Bay boys’ volleyball team took the floor for the third set of its state play-in game with Cardinal Gibbons, it could easily have been its last match of the season.
The Lightning, which has never been to states, was down 2-0 and on the brink of elimination. The players did not hang their heads. After all, they defeated Archbishop McCarthy, the champions in their district, in straight sets in the previous round.
The Lightning (15-1) came storming back to win the next three sets 25-23, 25-22 and 17-15 to advance to the state tournament, which begins with the quarterfinal round Friday at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.
“It started out a little shaky,” second-year Cypress Bay coach Chris Guerra said. “I told the guys we got to fight through, just like we’ve done all season, and good things will happen if you just stay together and stay focused.”
The Lightning will face undefeated Longwood Lyman, ranked the No. 1 team in Central Florida by Bright House Sports Network.
Also making the trip to Kissimmee from Broward County, but for the first time in three years, are the Douglas boys.
This season’s seniors were freshmen the last time the Eagles advanced to state. They made it there with three-set victories against Deerfield Beach and Taravella and a four-set win over West Boca Raton in the play-in round.
The Eagles will play Southwest Miami.
Senior outside hitter Matt Archambault leads Douglas with 112 kills. His chemistry with senior setter Jorge Rojas, with 450 assists on the season, is the key to Douglas’ success.
If Douglas and Cypress Bay are both able to defeat their state quarterfinal opponents, they would set up an all-Broward semifinal.
TRACK & FIELD
Upperroom Christian’s Adanaca Brown, still basking in a sweep of the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and finishing third in the long jump at the Class 1A state finals, will announce her college decision inside the school Friday.
Brown, a Bahamian native, has narrowed her list to Michigan, Michigan State, Western Kentucky, Cincinnati and Nova Southeastern.
Calvary Christian has tapped into the state championship experience former Dillard star forward Cilk McSweeney brings as its new boys’ basketball coach.
McSweeney played an integral role as a deadly 6-5 outside shooter for Dillard in the 2000-01 season when the Panthers won the second of their record four consecutive big school state titles under legendary coach Darryl Burrows.
Steve Allen, a 6-11 center on the Panthers’ back-to-back state title teams (2000-2001) who played for Clemson, and business partner of McSweeney with Kingdom Training, has accepted the lead assistant position.
“Calvary won six games last year so whether we win 10, 15 or 20 games next season, we want the kids to develop and be the best they can be.” McSweeney. “Obviously, coaching is going to be new to Steve and I, but we have a lot of experience from playing at a high level in high school and college, and we are used to developing guys.”
McSweeney said his first foray as a head coach will be helped with insight from Michael Lombardi, an assistant with the Boston Celtics who coached McSweeney at Penn State, and Burrows.
McSweeney’s hiring adds to an already diverse resume that includes actor, motivational speaker, professional trainer and author of “From the Pit to the Palace”, which chronicles McSweeney’s well-traveled career from Cardinal Gibbons, Dillard, St. Thomas More Prep (Conn), which he led to a 29-1 record in 2001-02, Towson State, Penn State and professional basketball.
The Miami Herald’s All-County Athletic Awards will be held later this month. The All-Dade ceremony will take place May 22 at Jungle Island near downtown Miami.
The All-Broward ceremony will take place May 24 at Signature Grand in Davie. Both events begin at 8:30 a.m. For information on tickets and other details, visit MiamiHerald.com/athleticawards.
• Southridge track star J’nea Bellamy signed with UCF.
• Florida Christian quarterback JJ Burmeister signed with Trinity International University in Chicago, Illinois. Burmeister helped the Patriots to a 7-3 record this past season.
• Archbishop McCarthy had nine of its athletes sign with colleges this week. For football, Frantz Petitpapa signed with Trine University, Nick Podesta signed with Lake Forest College, Marco Collie signed with Mount Union College and Michael Moorehead signed with Pfierrer University. Jason Stettner (baseball) signed with Carson Newman College. Nadia Anderson (track) signed with Camble University. Michaela Garcia (soccer) signed with American University. Sarah Acosta and Austin Ventura (cycling) signed with Lindsay Wilson College.
Region 4-8A final: American at Sunset, 4
Region 3-8A final: Jupiter at Flanagan, 7
Region 4-7A final: West Boca Raton at St. Thomas Aquinas, 7
Region 4-6A final: Naples Gulf Coast at Archbishop McCarthy, 7
Region 4-5A final: Estero at American Heritage, 7
Region 4-4A final at FIU: Monsignor Pace vs. St. Brendan, 7
Region 4-3A final: Coral Springs Christian at Florida Christian, 7
Region 4-2A final: Westwood Christian at Zion Lutheran, 3:30
Class 8A state semifinal at Vero Beach Sports Village: Coral Reef vs. Orlando Timber Creek, 7
Class 8A state semifinal at Vero Beach Sports Village: Cypress Bay vs. Jacksonville Bishop Snyder, 7
Class 6A state semifinal at Vero Beach Sports Village: Pembroke Pines Charter vs. Gainesville, 4:30
Class 4A state semifinal at Vero Beach Sports Village: Gulliver vs. Starke Bradford, 2
Class 2A state semifinal at Vero Beach Sports Village: Princeton Christian vs. Orlando Pine Castle Christian, 11:30 a.m.
State quarterfinals at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee: Coral Reef vs. Lake Worth Park Vista, 1; Douglas vs. Southwest, 3; Longwood Lyman vs. Cypress Bay, 5; Mourning vs. Orlando Bishop Moore, 7