The Alonzo and Tracy Mourning boys’ volleyball team doesn’t have the rich history in the sport of schools such as Southwest, Sunset or Palmetto.
At least not yet.
The Sharks are quickly becoming one of the best in the state and took another step toward that goal Tuesday by beating all three of those traditional powers en route to their first GMAC volleyball championship at Palmetto.
Mourning outlasted the host Panthers in a best 2-of-3 championship match for a 25-16, 20-25, 15-12 victory led by senior setter Erick Nascimento’s 25 assists and nine digs and senior outside hitter Carlos Jimenez’s nine kills and seven digs.
The Sharks beat Southwest 25-21, 25-20 in the semifinals after beating Sunset 25-18, 25-14 in the quarterfinal round.
“This team started the season with a lot of frustration losing close games that should have gone our way,” Nascimento said. “This is our first accomplishment and we have more to come.”
Nascimento is one of nine seniors on a Mourning squad that advanced to the state semifinals last season and the state quarterfinals the prior season.
Despite losing two of its top players from a year ago, the Sharks knew from the start of the season they had the talent to make a serious run at a state championship.
“This was a huge goal for us because we had never been past the first round of this tournament,” Mourning assistant coach Chad Moreschi said.
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Moreschi was filling in for coach Dee Rey, who could not coach the Sharks because of a family emergency. Moreschi said the team has been competitive with all opponents this season but has, at times, had difficulty finishing matches.
Leading 14-9 in the decisive set, Palmetto cut the Sharks’ lead to 14-12, but they found a way to secure victory with clutch play on the final point.
Senior Santiago Triana had 13 kills for the tournament, and junior Will Zuluaga had 15 kills and six blocks. Libero Riain Festge, a sophomore, had 16 digs in the championship match, and senior Nicolas Triana had five kills and four digs.
▪ Miami High d. Hialeah Gardens (25-19, 31-29):Melenciano 16 kills, 2 aces. Sierra 7 kills, 3 blocks. Maloney 15 assists, 4 kills, ace. MIA 19-3.
▪ Palmetto d. Columbus (26-24, 18-25, 15-13): Decker 10 kills, 6 digs.Parker 13 digs. Hunt 5 kills. PAL 17-6.