The first time Michael Colonna played in a state tournament, he was a freshman and everything about the experience was new to the Raiders.
Three years later, Colonna is one of the best players in the state and the lone player left from that team. He will lead a new Ransom roster back to the state meet after a sweep of visiting SLAM Academy 25-16, 25-13, 25-23 Tuesday night.
After a slow start to the season, Ransom (21-5) has won 19 of its past 20 matches.
"We were in shambles at the start of the season so to come together and make this run, you can’t ask for anything better," Colonna said. "We are competitors to a fault and we know we don’t want this run to end."
Colonna led the Raiders (21-5) with 22 kills and helped Ransom advance to its first state quarterfinal since 2014. The Raiders will play unbeaten Orlando Freedom (28-0) on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the state meet, which will be held Golden Gate High in Naples.
Other than some trouble in the third set, Ransom cruised in the match as Jake Rivlin had eight kills, Ryan Peluso had 37 assists and eight digs and Riss Mendizabal had four kills.
This came after a tough five-game win in the District 14 final last week over Southwest, the former team of Ransom Everglades’ assistant coach Mauricio Diaz – a two-time state championship coach with the Eagles. Diaz, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago, since underwent successful surgery and has been coaching again this season.
▪ State play-in — South Broward d. Mourning (17-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 17-15): After dropping the first two sets to a team that had beaten them in the same round the last two years, it appeared to be more of the same for the South Broward boys volleyball team on Tuesday night.
But nobody bothered to tell the Bulldog players that as they gamely battled their way all the way to win the final three sets including a tense 17-15 win in the final set to stun Mourning High School in the Sharks gym in a state play-in game.
It ended a run of four consecutive trips to the state tournament for Mourning (22-7) and punched South Broward’s first-ever trip to state where the Bulldogs (20-5) will take on Lake Mary on Friday at 1 p.m. at Golden Gate High School in Naples.
“I just told the guys either we were going to go home emptied handed for the third year in a row or we could fight back,” said South Broward coach Leo Jimenez when asked what he said to his players after the first two sets. “Give all the credit to my kids for pulling something like this off, a great moment for our program.”
Not only did the Bulldogs battle back from two sets down but trailed Mourning 9-5 in the fifth set before putting together a 6-2 run to get it tied at 11.
Junior Collin Hart snapped a 15-15 tie with a kill shot to put South Broward up by one and then came through again with another big hit that Mourning managed to return but the ball barely went outside the antenna ending the match.
“We lost those first two sets and just huddled up and told each other that we had lost to this team the last two years one step short of state but knew that we were capable of getting it turned back in our direction,” said senior outside hitter Alex Sands who led the way for the Bulldogs with 16 kills. “We came out smoking in that third set and that’s when I really felt we got things turned around. We really wanted this bad and it feels great to get it.”
Said Jimenez: “Alex is our leader. He’s been outstanding all year and we needed every bit of his leadership out there tonight.”
After taking her team to four straight trips to state, it was a tough loss for Mourning coach Dee Rey who is retiring at the end of the year completing a 16 year career coaching volleyball at Chaminade-Madonna and Mourning.
▪ District 8-3A Semifinals — Sagemont 10, Marathon 0: WP: Jared Chirino 3 IP, 6 K’s, 0H. Alejandro Martin 3 IP, 3K’s, H. Jonathan Vega 4-5, 3 H, 2B, RBI, R, SB. Alexis Castillo 2-3, 1B, 2B, BB, K. Adrian Parker 2-3, 1B, 2B, R. Eric Verdera 2-3, 2 1B, 2 RBI, R. Dylan Fineberg 2-4, 2 1B, RBI, R. Keshav Babu 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2R. Paxton Terris 1-3, 1B, R, 2 SB.
▪ District 16-9A Semifinals — Palmetto 9, Southridge 2: WP: Matt Turner (7-2), CG, 3H, 8 K’s. LP: Brandon Cabrera. PAL (19-5): Victor Valderrama 4-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 SB, 2 RBI. Eddy Arteaga 2-3, RBI. Dickson Aburto 2-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.
▪ District 16-7A Semifinals — Belen 8, TERRA 1: WP: Danny Brown 6.1 IP; 1 R. BEL (19-5): Jon Barditch 3-3, R. CJ Vazquez 2-3, 2 RBI, R. Gabe Trastoy 2-3, RBI, 2 R. Carlos Lara 1-4, 3B, 2 RBI.
▪ District 8-3A Semifinals — Archbishop Carroll 17, Dade Christian 2: WP: Paolo Maldonado CG, 4 IP, 2H, 2ER, 3K’s. ACC (23-2): Jonathan Leon 3-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 4R. Sal Lorenzo 3-3, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R. Austin Capote 2-3, 3 RBI, R. Chris Fernandez 3-4, 3 RBI.
▪ District 7-4A Semifinals — Chaminade 14, Hialeah Educational 0: CM 12-13. HEA 9-12.
▪ District 8-2A Semifinals — Brito 5, Westwood Christian 1: WP: Hector Garcia CG, 4H, 5K. LP: Marco Morales. MC (14-8): Jefrey Rodriguez 3-R HR.
▪ District 8-2A Semifinals — Miami Christian 10, Island Christian 0: WP: Jason Marono. MC 17-7. IC 5-8.
▪ District 7-4A Semifinals — Westminster Academy 10, SLAM Academy 0: WA 19-7. SA 8-18.
▪ District 8-4A Semifinals — Westminster Christian 10, Somerset Academy 0: WC 21-5. SA 7-11.
▪ District 13-9A Semifinals — Krop 3, Hialeah 1: WP: Manuel Santana CG 7IP, R, ER, 7H, 4BB, 3K’s. Carlos Su 1-2, RBI, BB. Jason Valdez 1-3, BB. Nicholas DiMartino 1-2, 2B, BB.
▪ District 15-7A Semifinals — South Broward 13, Northeast 3: WP: Noah Chang (4-3), 3.1 IP, 2H, 2R, 5 K’s. LP: Miguel Contreras 1 IP, 2H, 6R. SB (15-10): Salvatore Zaremba 2-2, R, 4 RBI. Riley Rosario 3-4, R, 3RBI, 2B. NE (9-13): Ben Lewis 1-2, RBI, HR.
▪ District 15-1A Semifinals — Edison 28, Central 0: Passing: Tatyana Fremont 10-18, 239 yds, 3 TD. Rushing: Irenna Hines 2-40 yds, XP. Chakeria Cooper 3-30 yds. Receiving: Jaquala Brown 2-45 yds, INT, XP. Brittany Julius 2-37 yds, TD, 2point conversion. Nikesha Pierre 6-120 yds, 2 TD. Defense: Brittany Julius 3 flag pulls, INT. Chakeria Cooper 4 flag pulls. Dynasty Gaines 4 flag pulls, 2 sacks. Nikesha Pierre 3 sacks. Serena Johnson 2 INT, TD, 4 flag pulls.
▪ District 14-1A Semifinals — Norland 19, Goleman 0: Passing: I. Jackson 11-16 76yds. D. Rolle 1-3, 22yds, TD. Rushing: C. Pressley 2-8yds. D. Stevens 3-12yds. Receiving: C. Pressley 5-56yds, TD. D. Stevens 5-48yds. D. Rolle 2-21yds. N. Mazyck 2-6yds. Defense: S. Johnson 3 INT, TD. D. Rolle 2 tkls, INT, TD. R. Maltin 3tkls.
▪ Jackson 19, Somerset Charter 0: Receiving: T' Nieya Dotson 25 yd-TD. Karreisha Gross 35 yd-TD. Designee Mack-Fields 40 yd-TD. Rushing: Carrianna Oliver 65 yds. DEF: Dayana Rodriguez 4 sacks.
American Heritage boys golf’s Wade Howard has signed with Goucher College.
Region 4-9A quarterfinal: Miami Beach at American, 3:30
Region 4-9A quarterfinal: Hialeah at Coral Gables, 4
Region 4-9A quarterfinal at Palmetto Bay Park: Lourdes vs. Coral Reef, 7
Region 4-9A quarterfinal at Palmetto Bay Park: Southwest vs. Palmetto, 7
Region 3-9A quarterfinal: Flanagan at Douglas, 4
Region 3-9A quarterfinal: Monarch at Western, 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: South Plantation at Boca Raton Spanish River, 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Coral Glades at St. Thomas Aquinas, 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal: Reagan at Cooper City, 7
Region 4-8A quarterfinal at St. Thomas University: Mater Academy vs. Nova, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: TERRA at Pembroke Pines Charter, 7
Region 4-7A quarterfinal: South Broward at Doral, 7
Region 4-6A quarterfinal: Goleman at American Heritage, 7
Region 4-6A quarterfinal at Virginia Gardens Park: Archbishop McCarthy vs. Miami Springs, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Pompano Beach at LaBelle, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal at Betti Stradling Park: Lincoln Park at Coral Springs Charter, 7
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Key West at St. Brendan, 4
Region 4-5A quarterfinal: Mater Lakes at Gulliver, 4
District 13-9A final at Alex Fernandez Field: 7
District 14-9A final at Flamingo Park: 6:30
District 13-8A final at Miller Park: Boca Spanish River-Delray Atlantic winner vs. Coral Glades, 7
District 16-8A final at Reagan: 3:30
District 15-7A final at South Broward: 6:30
District 16-6A final at Goleman: 4
District 14-5A semifinals at North Broward Prep: Pine Crest-North Broward Prep winner vs. Somerset Academy, 4; Coral Springs Charter-Cardinal Gibbons winner vs. Pompano Beach, 7
District 7-4A semifinals at Calvary Christian: 1 and 4
District 11-2A final at Douglas: 6
District 12-2A final at Western: 6
District 15-2A final at Tropical: 5
District 13-1A final at Dillard: 6
District 16-1A final at Traz Powell: 5
Last week’s best Miami-Dade performances
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
Dr. Krop’s girls, Belen Jesuit’s boys and Ransom Everglades’ boys each won state tennis championships.
Belen won its first state title and extended a streak of 11 years for the school winning at least one state championship in any sport. Carlos Grande and Daniel Martinez each won their singles divisions and teamed up to win No. 1 doubles in the final round.
Ransom Everglades prevailed in Class 1A to win its first state title since 2008 and fifth overall. John Michael Holtmann won his singles match and teamed up with Antonio Mora to win doubles in the finals.
Krop won its sixth girls’ state title by winning the Class 4A tournament. Karly Friedland and Juliana Martinez won at Nos. 2 and 3 singles respectively and secured the No. 2 doubles title in the semifinals. Manami Maehama also won at No. 5 singles in the finals.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Adrian Rodriguez, Coral Park, baseball: Rodriguez drove in the game-winning runs with a two-run double in the seventh to help the Rams beat Columbus 8-6 and win their first GMAC title in 40 years.
Nora Zubillaga, Lourdes, softball: Zubillaga picked up the victory and went 2 for 3 with an RBI to lead the Bobcats to the District 15-9A title with a 4-2 win over Southwest.
Tyrese Cooper, Norland, boys’ track and field: Cooper won the 100, 200 and 400 meters at the Region 4-3A meet.
Symone Mason, Southridge, girls’ track and field: Mason won the 100, 200 and 400 meters at the Region 4-4A meet.
Tom Jaworski and Edward Luca, Mourning, boys’ tennis: Jaworski and Luca combined to win the individual state doubles championship in Class 3A.
Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico and Lindy Lyons, Gulliver, girls’ tennis: Gonzalez-Rico won the individual singles championship and teamed with Lyons to win the doubles title in Class 2A.
Daniel Thews, SLAM, boys’ volleyball: Thews had 25 kills, 15 digs and 10 points to lead the Titans to the District 13 championship with a win over Hialeah-Miami Lakes.
Nikesha Pierre, Edison, Flag football: Pierre caught six passes, two for touchdowns and posted four sacks to lead the Red Raiders to a 20-0 win over Jackson that secured their first GMAC title.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ
Last week’s best Broward performances
Evan Bynoe won at No. 1 singles to lead the Douglas boys’ tennis team to the Class 4A state title, its first tennis crown in state history.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Emily Townsend, Piper, flag football: Townsend threw three touchdown passes to lead the Bengals over Monarch 26-6.
J.T. Martin, Cardinal Gibbons, boys’ volleyball: Maratin had 10 kills, three blocks and two digs to lead the Chiefs over St. Thomas Aquinas in three sets for the District 9 title.
Jacob Stanley, Douglas, baseball: Stanley drove in two runs to lead the Eagles over Pine Crest 4-2.
Jermanie Byrd, St. Thomas Aquinas, boys’ track: Byrd won the 110 high hurdles and finished second in the 300 hurdles to lead the Raiders to the Region 4-4A boys’ title.
Mimi Lavin, Pine Crest, girls’ tennis: Lavin won at No. 2 singles in the Class 2A state championship.
Michael Gonzalez, Nova, baseball: Gonzalez drove in a run to lead the Titans over South Broward 4-2.
Emily Winburn, Chaminade, softball: Winburn struck out 11 to earn the shutout as the Lions beat Westminster Academy 9-0 in the District 4-7A title game.
Joanna Urso, Western, softball: Urso had the game-winning RBI to lead the Wildcats over Flanagan 3-2 in the District 12-9A championship game.
Brenna Lokeinsky, Cooper City, softball: Lokeinsky drove and three runs and scored two runs to lead the Cowboys over Nova 11-1 in the District 15-8A fFinal.
Milton Ingraham, Hallandale, boys’ track: Ingraham won the discus and shot put to lead the Chargers to the Region 4-2A title.
Lindsey Garcia, Coral Springs Charter, softball: Garcia went 3 for 3 with a home run to lead the Panthers over Pompano Beach 10-0 for the District 14-5A title.