The St. Thomas Aquinas volleyball team frequently plays in some of the more prestigious tournaments nationwide.
For the third consecutive season, the Raiders wrapped up a challenging schedule with a tournament championship in the Broward County Athletic Association’s Big 8 tournament.
With a balanced effort, Aquinas made quick work of rival and tournament host Cardinal Gibbons in the final, 25-20, 25-13 as the Raiders remained perfect in the three-year existence of the event.
“It’s great because it’s a cool way to finish by playing the best in the county,” St. Thomas coach Lisa Zielinski said. “It ties our whole season together and especially by winning it.”
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Aquinas (23-2), ranked 64th in Prepvolleyball.com’s national top 100, beat Gibbons (15-5) for the second time in three seasons in the tournament final and appears to be building momentum for a potential run toward back-to-back Class 7A state championships.
Aquinas’ only losses this season are to Gainesville PK Yonge, which is ranked fourth nationally by Prepvolleyball.com, and to Chicago’s Marist High (No. 63) at the Asics Challenge in Chicago earlier this month.
“This was another great match for us to get ready for the postseason,” Zielinski said.
“I feel like we really are peaking right now because things clicked for us in Chicago. We felt like we came out of there playing at a higher level than we had all season.”
The Raiders outlasted Gibbons in a close first game, pulling away for the final three points of the set that was capped with an ace from Derry Costigan.
Aquinas dominated the final set in the best-of-3 match, capitalizing at the net and taking advantage of errors by the Chiefs.
Allison Marble led the Raiders in the championship match with eight kills, five digs and four service points. Emma Dixon had four kills, two blocks and two digs.
Derry Costigan had nine assists, four digs, four service points and two kills. Kelsey O’Loughlin finished with 10 service points, seven assists, five digs and four aces.
Daniella Molinari had five kills, an assist, three digs and four blocks to lead Gibbons. Kassie Akouri added nine assists, four digs and three points.
Aquinas beat Cypress Bay 25-16, 25-17 in the semifinal round.
Brooke Bauer led the Raiders with eight kills, 10 service points and six digs, and Jada Gardener had five kills and three digs. Kaylie McHugh had 14 digs and three service points.
Gibbons advanced to the final with a 25-12, 25-6 win over Cooper City.
Sarah Martin led the Chiefs with seven assists, five service points and four kills, and Molinari finished with six points, five aces and three kills.
Akouri added seven assists, seven points, five aces and three digs.
MORE GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL
▪ Chaminade-Madonna d. North Broward Prep 26-16, 25-17, 25-14: Angelique Sheerin 16 points, 2 aces, 13 kills. Amanda Allende 11 digs, 10 kills. Danielle Franzosa 20 digs, 7 points. CM 11-9.
▪ Late Tuesday — Chaminade-Madonna d. Hollywood Christian 25-16, 25-23, 25-10: Carly Price 18 assists, 15 points, 5 kills. Danielle Franzosa 16 digs, 9 points. CM 10-9.
▪ Late Tuesday — MAST d. Coral Gables 25-18, 25-13, 26-24: Mia Boloix 17 kills, 7 digs, 2 blocks, 2 aces. Angelica Torres 19 assists, 3 blocks, 2 kills. Victoria Sewing 25 digs, 3 kills, 2 blocks, ace. MA 14-5.
▪ St. Brendan d. Doral Academy 22-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-21: SB 16-7: Sophie Sires 37 assists, 5 digs, 4 aces. Natalie Perez 11 kills, 4 blocks, 4 aces. Carolina Caram 9 kills, 9 digs, 6 aces. DA (13-4): Fabiana Castro 10 kills, 5 digs, 3 aces, 14 points, block. Emily Martinez 12 digs.
▪ District 21-3A — St. Thomas Aquinas 432, Taravella 471 (at Colony West CC, par 71): Jayla Corbin (STA) 85, Kayla Loungo (TAR) 89, Lindsey Powell (STA) 104, Renni Baker (STA) 114, Rita Lucas (TAR) 120, Marissa Alpern (TAR) 127, Katyn Besu (STA) 129, Clarke (TAR) 135.
▪ District 20-3A — Boca Raton 296, Spanish River 303, Douglas 339, West Boca 364, Atlantic 376, Olympic Heights 393, Deefield Beach 443, Monarch 450, Coral Springs Inc. (at Deer Creek, par 72): Mutillo (BR) 69, Blochtein (SR) 72, Bariso (BR) 73, Checo (SR) 74, Gifford (BR) 77, Leikart (BR) 77, Bravarman (SR) 77, Leon (D) 77, Campos (DOU) 79, Steiner (SP) 80. More regional qualifiers: Seaman (DB) 75, Fisher (AT) 76, Shoenselt (OH) 82.
▪ Gulliver Prep 5, Miami Christian 2: High Game: Taylor Heyser (GP) 132, Brittney Rodriguez (MC) 118. High Series: Taylor Heyser (GP) 340, Brittney Rodriguez (MC) 297, Mercedez Martin (MC) 297. GP 7-5.
▪ Late Tuesday — Westland Hialeah 34, Hialeah 29: 100 Fly: J. Morales (WS). 100 Breast: J. Morales (WS). 100 Back: D. Lemus (HIA).
▪ Late Tuesday — Hialeah 29, Hialeah Miami Lakes 8: 100 Back: D. Lemus (HIA). 200 Medley Relay: D. Lemus (HIA). 200 Free: B. Morin (HML). 50 Free: B. Morin (HML).
▪ Late Tuesday — Hialeah 44, Westland Hialeah 28: 50 Free: A. Luy (HIA). 100 free: A. Luy (HIA). 100 Breast: C. Garcia (HIA). 200 free: C. Garcia (HIA). 500 Free: K. Cruzada (HIA). 100 Fly: A. Fuentes (WS). 200 IM: A. Fuentes (WS).
▪ Late Tuesday — Hialeah 44, Hialeah Miami Lakes 0: 200 medley/ 200 Free Realy: K. Cruzada, C. Garcia, A. Luy, D. Soto (HIA).
Gulliver vs. Booker T. (Traz), 7
Mater Academy vs. Miami Springs (Milander), 7
South Dade vs. Killian (Southridge), 7
Goleman vs. Doral (Milander), 4
Miami Beach at Columbus, 5
Krop vs. Hialeah Gardens (N. Miami), 7
Westland Hialeah at Reagan, 3:30
Mourning vs. Sunset (Tropical), 7
Ransom Everglades at Scheck Hillel, 7
Pinecrest Prep at Miami Community Charter (Harris), 7
Highlands Christian at Miami Country Day, 7
Pines Charter at Pompano Beach, 7
Smoothie King Invitational at Ransom Everglades
GMAC championship at Larry and Penny Thompson Park - Girls: 4:30; Boys: 5.