Ransom Everglades is preparing to host the state water polo championships for the fifth consecutive season.
But the past two years, the Raiders’ girls have had to earn their right to participate in the event by beating their biggest rival, Gulliver.
On Saturday afternoon, a consistent defensive effort assured Ransom an opportunity to compete for a third consecutive state title when it held off Gulliver 11-8 in a state tournament play-in match at its home pool.
“We were really consistent with our defense in the first half feeding off to our counterattack,” Ransom coach Eric Lefebvre said. “They made some adjustments and slowed down how quickly we were going out. That’s the beauty of this series. One wins and the other makes adjustments and comes back stronger.”
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Ransom (22-4) beat Gulliver three out of the four times they played this season, and now has a chance to win its seventh state title in the past eight years — a surge interrupted only by Gulliver, which has won every other state title since the sport became sanctioned by the FHSAA in 2005.
Sofia Carrera-Justiz led the Raiders with five goals, and Isa Reyes-Capo scored three. Keeper Claire McDowell made 16 blocks. Gulliver was led by Samantha Rosenberg’s two goals.
Ransom will take on unbeaten MAST Academy in the state quarterfinal round Friday morning.
▪ Boys’ state play-in — Mourning 8, Miami Country Day 7 (OT): Daniel Scotese scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the Sharks to state for the first time. Following the thrilling win at FIU’s North campus pool, the Sharks advanced to take on reigning state champion Belen Jesuit in the quarterfinals Friday.
▪ Girls’ state play-in — MAST 18, Dr. Krop 3: The Makos (18-0) remained perfect heading into next weekend’s state tournament and clinched a berth in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.
Cara Mullery led the way with seven goals, six assists and two steals. Angie Varona, Valerie Bracho and Barbara Carbonell each had two goals. Varona also had four assists and two steals.
MAST also won its third consecutive district title this year, second GMAC title in a row and completed its second unbeaten regular season in a row.
▪ Girls’ state play-in — South Broward 22, Cooper City 3: The Bulldogs (19-4) secured only the second trip to the state tournament in its program’s history with the home victory.
Courtny Cook had four goals, three assists and eight steals to lead the Bulldogs (19-4), who will make their first state quarterfinals appearance since 2011.
Madison Martinez had six goals, three assists and four steals. Emma Leto had three goals and six assists, and Racquel Jimenez had three goals, four assists and two steals.
Goalkeeper Tatum Skove had 10 saves.
MORE WATER POLO
▪ Mourning 8, Miami Country Day 7: Francisco Randazzo 7 saves. Kyhel Vigille 2 goals. Anthony Kaminsky 2 goals. Daniel Scotese 3 goals.