St. Thomas falls in state semifinals

 

Special to the Miami Herald

Winning titles and reaching states is the norm and the expectation at St. Thomas Aquinas.

But there’s a sport where that’s not the case — boys’ volleyball.

Like senior Sean Davis said, “We never really got recognition in our school. Some people didn’t even know we had a boys’ volleyball team.”

They’ll know now, even if the Raiders fell in an emotional five-set match to Tampa Berkeley Prep 25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11 in a state semifinal Saturday afternoon at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale.

St. Thomas advanced as far as it ever has in boys’ volleyball. The Raiders had never reached states before, and in quarterfinals late Friday night, even ousted previously unbeaten Wellington in straight sets.

Usually when teams reach this stage in the postseason and are eliminated, players are teary-eyed, but not this group. The seven seniors who played their final match understood the accomplishment they made regardless of Saturday’s outcome.

“Being a team of all seniors, we’ve just grown up with each other since freshman year,” said Davis, who finished with 13 kills and 14 digs. “So we have that tight bond. We’re brothers. We win as a family, we lose as a family, but we’re always a family.”

Kyle Dagostino won it for Berkeley Prep, which ultimately defeated Longwood Lyman in the final to win the state title, with a laser of a service ace to finish off the Raiders. He had a kill on the previous point as well and finished with 30 kills, 17 digs and two aces.

Aquinas did not have to deal with Dagostino when it beat Berkeley in a regular season tournament and he was injured, but they felt his impact on Saturday.

“I think Kyle’s the best player in the state of Florida,” said father and Berkeley coach Randy Dagostino. “He’s been doing this since he came back from injury, so I wasn’t surprised. It sounds egotistical, but he’s that good.”

The Raiders (21-4) felt it wasn’t all about Dagostino’s stellar play.

“They have so many weapons to go to. You think it’s going to Dagostino, and then it’ll go to another guy and they’ll get the kill for them,” Davis said. “They’re so well-rounded. It’s not just him, but he definitely put the team on his back.”

Said St. Thomas coach Eric Wurts, “He hit well, but I don’t think he was the deciding factor.”

The Raiders also dropped a fourth set the Buccaneers led wire to wire after winning the second and third and having all the moment on their side.

“I knew that fourth game was pretty pivotal. You never know what happens in the fifth, so you don’t want to go to that deciding game,” Wurts said.

Aquinas had four serves go into the net and lost by four points in that set.

Nicholas Rusk had 28 kills, 31 digs and two blocks for the Raiders. Robert Carsello registered 14 kills, 23 digs, two aces and two aces. Kyle Schroeder added nine kills, and setter Stefano Rivera led the team with 47 assists.

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

  • Southwest 69, Coral Park 0

    Southwest gets little resistance from Coral Park

    Sands scored three of his touchdowns in the first quarter. Southwest’s first offensive play was a 16-yard touchdown pass to Sands from Pickett-White. Sands added two more scores on short runs.

  • Coral Gables 19, Southridge 7

    Fierce defense lifts Coral Gables Cavaliers

    With the greater expectations comes the larger target on the back.

  • Hialeah Gardens 26, Westland Hialeah 0

    Hialeah Gardens puts an end to 30-game skid

    On Friday, Hialeah Gardens did something it hadn’t done in 30 games: the Gladiators won. With a victory against Westland Hialeah, the Gladiators gleamed with delight under a lopsided scoreboard.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category