Although Western feels pretty good about its chances with All-Broward first team outside hitter Amanda Medlock on the court, the Wildcats were up against a numbers game on Wednesday night.
Having Medlock wasn’t nearly enough as Cypress Bay’s Ariela Slutzky, Cassidy Fisher and Marcelle Zaccour put on a ferocious display of hitting to lead the Lightning over Western 25-18, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19 in the girls’ volleyball District 12-8A championship game.
“We haven’t blocked that well in awhile,” Lightning coach Chris Guerra said. “My front row players did a great job of slowing down Medlock. She is going to get her points but we executed our game plan pretty well. Our girls were excited. They played with a lot of heart. They didn’t forget what happened the last two years.”
The win ends the Wildcats’ two-year run as district champions and sends the Lightning to the Regional quarterfinals on Oct. 30, when they will host the Douglas-Coral Springs loser.
Slutzky finished with 12 kills, Fisher added nine kills and Zaccour had seven kills and four blocks.
While Fisher, Zaccour and Priscilla Ertty (game-high 35 assists) had their moments, nobody had more momentum swinging plays than Slutzky, who seemed to deflate every Wildcats (18-6) rally with a monster kill.
In the pivotal fourth match, Slutzky rattled off four kills to help the Lightning (22-3) build a 23-19 lead. Zaccour and Cristina Finan then teamed up on a block for a 24-19 advantage before Western’s Daniella Tovar returned a volley that went out of bounds, as the Lightning stormed the court in celebration.
Gulliver Prep swept the District 12-2A meet at Marian Krutulis Aquatic Center.
The girls’ team captured nine titles, including all three relays, to tally a commanding 1,075.5 points. Freshman Brooke Ellis won the 200-yard IM and 100-yard fly. Sophomore Namilla Sanchez finished first in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle.
“This is probably the strongest girls’ team we’ve had here probably in a decade,” coach Jeff Poppell said. “We’re excited about it. I like where we are now.”
Though the boys’ team didn’t finish first in any of the 12 events, it took the district title for the third consecutive year with “good, solid depth,” according to Poppell. Six seniors lead the squad, which lost three swimmers from last year’s team.
Five swimmers from other schools notched multiple district championships.
Like the girls’ competition, one person dominated the 200- and 500-yard free — Doral Academy sophomore Alex Arrieta.
A pair of St. Brendan boys’ swimmers won two races — junior Zuhayr Pigot in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle, and senior Wayne Denswil in the 200-yard IM and 100-yard breaststroke.
For the Sabres girls’ team, senior Brienne Renfurn took the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke with her fastest time (59.70) on the latter. Doral Academy sophomore Alex Arrieta placed first in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle.
Christina De Nicola
• Boys’ team score: Gulliver Prep 503.5, Doral Academy 346.5, Archbishop McCarthy 318.5, Key West 234, St. Brendan 156, Monsignor Pace 146, Somerset Academy 78.5.
• Girls’ team score: Gulliver Prep 1,075.5, Doral Academy 728.5, Archbishop McCarthy 530, Key West 444, St. Brendan 390.5, Somerset Academy 248.5, Monsignor Pace 166.