Palmetto defeated Southwest 25-12, 10-25, 25-19, 27-25 on Tuesday night to advance to the state tournament.
Palmetto will play Orlando Bishop Moore in a state quarterfinal on Friday at Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest.
“It was a battle and both teams left their hearts on the court,” Palmetto’s Dylan Janney said. “The home crowd kept us going.”
Palmetto (21-7) finished the first set on a 8-1 run capped by a kill by Julian Hunt. Southwest (22-5) responded with a decisive 25-10 victory in the second set. The third set was won by the Panthers on a kill by Devin Decker.
Thomas Latimer led the Panthers with 21 assists. Decker had 16 kills and 10 digs. Adiel Hernandez led the Eagles with 12 kills.
▪ State play-in — Mourning d. South Broward (25-16, 25-13, 25-14): The celebration was a modest one at center court for the Mourning,
The Sharks had just finished off a dominating performance, dispatching South Broward in straight setsin a state play-in game on their home floor to reach the state tournament.
But the subdued celebration was because this marked Mourning’s third consecutive trip to state. Just two weeks after winning the program’s first GMAC title, Sharks players are looking for big things when they take on Wellington in a state quarterfinal Friday.
Mourning played Wellington last month in the Smoothie Classic and beat the Wolverines in straight sets.
“We have nine seniors who are making their third straight trip to state so they know what they have to do now to get ready and be prepared for what they’re up against with the experience they gained the last two years,” said Mourning coach Dee Rey whose team improved to 23-6. “I feel like this team can really do it.”
Rey watched as her players came out and dominated South Broward (16-8) from the opening shot as the Sharks finished things off in just a little over an hour.
▪ State play-in — Columbus d. Miami High 25-16, 25-23, 25-23: The host Explorers (24-2) swept the Stingarees (23-4) to advance to this weekend’s state tournament.
Columbus was led by Peter Cancio, who had 15 kills and eight digs, and setter Anthony Taboada, who had 23 assists. Guillermo Brito added eight kills.
Miami High, which was led by Manuel Melenciano’s 12 kills, blew a five-point lead in the second set and could not hold a 20-19 edge in the final game.
Columbus’ best season so far was in 2012, when the Explorers reached the state semifinals. No South Florida team has won state since Southwest did it in 2008.
But Columbus coach Greg Villareal said this year’s version of the Explorers is taller than in 2012 and is just now learning to play at a higher level mentally.
“We’re usually one of the shortest teams in Dade County,” said Villareal, who this year has more size with players such as the 6-4 Brito and 6-1 Cancio. “It gives us more of a block while still being able to attack the ball with power and confidence.”
▪ State play-in — Archbishop McCarthy d. Cardinal Gibbons (29-31, 25-17, 25-19, 25-17): Archbishop McCarthy knocked off Cardinal Gibbons to reach the state tournament.
A 40-minute first set sparked silence from the home crowd as the Chiefs won the opening set. But the Mavericks dominated the final three sets
“I think in the first set we really didn’t play as together as we should have,” Michael Moreiras said. “Once we got to the second set we really put it together and stuck together as a team. We are so excited. We can’t even believe it.”
Moreiras had 21 points, 36 digs, 18 kills, 8 blocks and two assists in the win. Nick Covone had 17 blocks and 16 kills, David Maniglia had 10 blocks and 9 kills, and Christian Amortegui had nine blocks and seven kills for the Mavericks.