It wasn’t long ago that Miami-Dade County teams left the state tournament in awe of the opponents it had just faced.
The reverse was true Tuesday at Silver Spurs Arena.
With precise setting and powerful hitting at the net, senior Nikki Colonna and junior Caroline Sklaver helped Ransom Everglades’ girls’ volleyball team overpower Tallahassee Florida State High for a relatively comfortable 25-16, 25-13, 26-24 victory in a Class 4A state semifinal.
Ransom Everglades’ victory, coupled with Westminster Christian’s win earlier in the day, were the first two victories for Dade County teams at the state tournament since 2008.
Before Tuesday, Dade teams had only won three matches overall since the 1995 season when Sunset won the county’s last state championship in the sport. It was also the first time more than one Dade team reached the state finals in the same season since 1994 — also the last time Ransom played in a state final.
Ransom (29-3) will try to win its first state championship since 1990 when it takes on Orlando Lake Highland Prep on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Westminster Christian will play for the Class 3A title at 3 p.m. Dade also has Ferguson competing in the Class 8A bracket starting Thursday.
“Our girls are happy, but I want them to realize how special what they accomplished today really is,” said Ransom coach Roger Peluso, who guided his team to the state tournament for the second consecutive season. “For Miami to have not just one team in the final, but two is a rarity. For many years, our teams have been swept in three and sent home. So it’s big for us and Westminster, and hopefully Ferguson can do the same when they play.”
Sklaver finished with 12 kills and 26 assists, while Colonna, a Lynn University commitment, totaled 13 kills and 19 digs to pace Ransom’s attack.
Their setting allowed Ransom to show off its depth as Lisette Tellez and Sophie Bullard each had eight kills. Tellez, an MIT recruit, also had 13 digs. Libero Tere Bernace had a match-high 16 digs.
“That was a great team and we hadn’t faced a team with that many hitters,” FSU coach Larry Sparkman said. “That height and variety of shots they hit was a lot of stuff we haven’t faced before. We have nothing to be ashamed of because we lost to a great team.”
Both Colonna and Sklaver credited the team’s precision for allowing their attack to open up so well allowing the Raiders to dominate early and often. Even the third game was close, largely because of unforced errors, which Ransom eventually limited to sweep the match.
“We executed the middle real well and it opened up the outsides well,” Colonna said.
Added Sklaver: “When we have both those components working, it’s real easy to get kills.”
Ransom also had a big contribution from Sydney Bent, a 5-10 lefty eighth-grader and outside hitter, who finished with seven kills and two digs.
The Raiders took an early 8-1 lead and cruised in the first game. At 13-8, Ransom pulled away in the second on a 7-1 surge.
“We have to make sure we keep telling ourselves it’s not over until we get to 25 points,” Bent said. “We need to keep our energy up and play through every point.”
Krop senior Alex Knight will sign Wednesday with the University of Michigan. Knight, a three-time All-Dade first-team selection, is graduating early and is a team state champion at No. 1 singles and individual No. 1 singles. Knight was also a high school All-American last season.
MAST Academy shut out Norland en route to its second victory of the young season.
Michael Morejon played multiple roles for MAST (2-1) as he scored a goal and was a relentless presence in goal as he recorded the shutout.
Gabriel Ventoso, Andres Garcia and Luis Garcia each added goals in the game.MAST 5, Norland 0: St. Brendan 5, Archbishop Carroll 0: Ransom Everglades 9, Pace 1: Archimedean 8, Colonial Christian 0: Palmer Trinity 10, Westwood Christian 0: LaSalle 4, Miami Country Day 0: St. Brendan 5, Archbishop Carroll 0: Gulliver 6, Florida Christian 0:
GIRLS’ SOCCERSouth Dade 9, South Ridge 0: Homestead 8, Central 0: Ransom Everglades 8, Pace 0: Coral Reef 3, Killian 0: Miami Springs 8, Westland 0: Palmer Trinity 9, Westwood Christian 0: Mater Academy 3, TERRA 2: Lourdes Academy 8, South Miami 0: Palmetto 2, Varela 1: Carrollton 7, Marathon 1: St. Brendan 8, Braddock 0: La Salle 5, Miami Country Day 3: Archimedean 8, Island Christian 3: Ferguson 8, Sunset 0:
GIRLS’ BASKETBALLEdison 46, Pace 36: EDI: PA: La Salle 46, Mater Lakes 6: LS: ML: Carol City 48, Hialeah-Miami Lakes 13: CC: HML: Lourdes 88, North Miami Beach 21: LA: NMB: Reagan 34, Springs 29: REA: SPR: Palmetto 62, Sunset 41: PAL: SUN: Palmer Trinity 57, St. Brendan 38: SB: PT: Booker T. Washington 44, Central 37: BTW: CEN: Ferguson 60, Coral Park 22: FER: CP: Coral Reef 69, Killian 27: CR: American 56, Jackson 17: AME: JAC: