Jake Pearson was visibly upset when his shot hit the crossbar at the end of regulation.
But his coach knew he’d get another chance.
Pearson, a junior for Ransom Everglades’ boys’ water polo team, found the mark with nine second left in sudden death overtime to lift the Raiders to an 8-7 comeback win over St. Thomas Aquinas in a state semifinal at their home pool.
"I told him why would you be upset with that shot?" Ransom coach Eric Lefebvre said. "That was a great shot. And in overtime he took it again and made it."
Ransom Everglades (29-0) will next try to win its first state title since 2008 when it plays Winter Park, which edged Gulliver in the other semifinal, at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The outcome snapped a streak of five consecutive seasons for Aquinas’ boys advancing to the state championship match.
Trailing 7-6 with 36 seconds left, Ransom senior Spencer Williams tied the match with a great shot that skipped into the corner of the goal.
"I knew time was winding down and when I saw we had secured the ball I swam as fast as I could and took the shot," Williams said.
Aquinas senior Parker Strickman, who scored five goals, would have added the game-winner had Ransom goalkeeper Miguel Lamar made a clutch save to keep the game tied in overtime and set up Pearson’s winner.
"I was afraid because we just know this has to be our year," Pearson said. "Once [Lamar] made that save and we gained possession I just knew we were going to win."
Gulliver’s girls trailed by a goal at the half, but scored seven of the eight goals scored in the second half to rally for a 9-4 win over Winter Park in a girls’ semifinal. The Raiders (23-6), led by Nicole Aucilino’s four goals and three from Shani Rupp, will try to win their first state title since 2013 when they take on Orlando Olympia at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Gulliver’s boys had two chances to tie their semifinal against Winter Park in the closing seconds but each shot missed the mark. The Raiders finished the season 19-11.
HISTORIC SEASON ENDS
Hialeah made great strides this season, advancing to the state semifinals for the first time since 2009 before losing 12-9 to Olympia.
The Thoroughbreds (21-3) jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the first half, but couldn’t hang on.
After trading goals into the fourth quarter, Olympia pulled away with three goals in a span of two minutes.
▪ Boys’ state quarterfinal – St. Thomas 12, Orlando Olympia 8: Aquinas needed a second-half rally to survive its quarterfinal match against Orlando Olympia. Trailing 6-3 in the third quarter, the Raiders scored nine unanswered goals to advance.
After Strickman started the run, Robert Schulte scored three in a row to give Aquinas the lead for good. James Burnette added four goals to preserve the advantage.
▪ Girls’ state quarterfinal – Hialeah 22, Oviedo Hagerty 7: Paola Dominguez-Castro led the Thoroughbreds with eight goals. Jeannet Garcia had five goals and Ashley Luy finished with four.
Girls’ state quarterfinal – Gulliver 17, Riviera Beach Suncoast 2: Aucilino led the Raiders with eight goals.
▪ Boys’ state quarterfinal – Ransom Everglades 21, Orlando Boone 5: Matthew Simko led the Raiders with four goals, and Will Danon had three goals.
▪ Boys’ state quarterfinal – Gulliver 13, Riviera Beach Suncoast 4: Caio Jordao led Gulliver with five goals. Bruno Rebessi had three goals.
▪ Girls’ state quarterfinal – Orlando Olympia 16, South Broward 6: The Bulldogs were eliminated at state by Olympia for the second consecutive season. Emma Leto led South Broward with four goals and Madison Martinez added two.
▪ Girls’ state quarterfinal – Winter Park 17, Cardinal Gibbons 3: Megan Gest had two goals and Kelly Gest had one for the Chiefs, who wrapped up their first-ever appearance at the state tournament.
▪ Boys’ state quarterfinal – Winter Park 14, Westminster Academy 5: Chase Perry led the Lions, who made their first state appearance, with two goals.
Hialeah Gardens had three athletes sign with colleges including All-Dade first team swimmer Jessica Rodriguez who signed with the University of Florida. Yoan Castellanos signed with North Park University in Illinois. Girls’ volleyball standout Bianca Torres signed with Johnson and Wales University.
▪ St. Thomas Aquinas’ defender Mackenzie Fee earned Class 5A-4A girls’ soccer honorable mention.
▪ State Quarterfinals — Douglas 14, Taravella 2: SD 10-7. TAR 9-8.
▪ District Final — St Thomas Aquinas 17, South Plantation 1: Sophia Savaglio 3 goals. Eliza Cumella 3 goals. Logan Tingley 2 goals.
▪ District Final — Pine Crest 17, Calvary Christian 5: Amanda Anderson 4 goals, 2 assists. Tara Shecter 3 goals, 2 assists. Sofia Caro 3 goals. Lizzie Kaplan 3 goals, assist.
▪ HML d. Krop (25-19, 25-11, 25-16): Andrew Uria 6 kills, 20 digs. Abraham Castillo 8 kills, 14 digs. Franky Zamora 5 kills, 28 assists, 13 digs. Luis Alvarez 24 points. Ariel Centurion 15 digs. GP 17-3.
▪ Monarch d. St. Thomas (25-15, 25-19, 25-20): Sean Drexl 17 kills, 7 digs, 10 points, 4 aces. Alex Burgess 3 kills, 3 blocks. Kyle Robertson 35 assists, 5 points, 2 aces, 5 digs, 4 kills. MON 14-7.
▪ Lourdes 11, Keys Gate 3: WP: Nora Zubillaga (10-5). LOU (16-7): Nicole Gonzalez 2-2, 2B, 3 R. Maria Amat 2-2, 3 R. Nora Zubillaga 3-4, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R. Brook Filliben 3-4, R.
▪ Cooper City 39, Nova 0: CC (9-0): Kimberly Slinkosky TD, Emma Andersen TD, Galya Vignansky TD, Sarah Megna TD, Jenna Jardine TD. Caitlin Dunn 5 TD passes.
▪ Jackson 20, Flagler Palm Coast 0: Passing: Jada Graham 270 yds, 3 passing TD. Karrisha Dross TD. Sedkavia Wright TD. Coreyonna Glass TD, 2 INT. Sanmari Clair INT. JAX 7-1.