Three nationally regarded girls’ volleyball teams headline a group of five South Florida teams that will try to bring home state championships this week at the state finals at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.
The most tradition-rich and highest-ranked is Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, a two-time state champion that is chasing its first title since 2004. The Raiders made it to the Class 7A state finals for the third consecutive season and take on Oviedo on Thursday at 1 p.m.
Aquinas (27-2), ranked No. 58 nationally by Prepvolleyball.com, could face regionally ranked Lutz George Steinbrenner High in the final.
Hollywood Sheridan Hills Christian doesn’t have the history of Aquinas, but it is becoming a regular at state. Sheridan Hills Christian (20-4) won its region for the third consecutive season and opens the Class 2A semifinals Friday at 9 a.m. against Winter Garden Foundation Academy.
Miami-Dade County has three teams, including a pair making their return after coming up short last season. Dade teams have not won a state title in the sport since 1995.
Miami Westminster Christian (26-6), ranked in the top 100 earlier in the season, is state-bound for the third consecutive season. The Warriors have been ousted in this round each of the past two seasons.
Westminster Christian hopes a senior-led group that includes outside hitter Sylvia Hernandez, one of the nation’s best and a University of Miami commitment, can change things this time.
Miami Ransom Everglades (28-3) survived a five-game match against Hollywood Chaminade this past Saturday to make it to state for the second year in a row.
The other side of Ransom’s bracket is still tough despite nationally ranked Gainesville P.K. Yonge losing in the regional finals. A victory for the Raiders could pit them against either Tampa Berkeley Prep or Orlando Lake Highland Prep for the championship. Both programs have won a combined 20 state championships.
Miami Ferguson is back at state for the first time since 2009 following a 24-6 season. The Falcons face a tough Class 8A bracket beginning Thursday with a 3 p.m. semifinal clash against Lake Mary, a state semifinalist last season. The winner would play either nationally ranked Winter Park or Jupiter.
BOYS’ SOCCERGulliver d. Pine Crest 3-0: Ransom Everglades d. Hillel 3-0:
GIRLS’ BASKETBALLGulliver Prep 68, Pine Crest 20:
J. Pagliery 8 points. M. Thomas 4 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks.Hebrew 54, Northwest Christian 20: Late Friday — Southridge 73, Edison 34: