There were some jarring sights for local volleyball fans during Friday’s quarterfinal round of the state tournament at Pine Crest, including two players sporting Mohawk haircuts (both from Wellington) and all three Miami-Dade County teams taking quick exits (Palmetto, Mourning and Columbus).
One Broward team did advance to Saturday’s semifinals, however. That was Archbishop McCarthy (19-8), which defeated Monarch in the last game of the night, a 25-9, 25-23, 25-xx All-Broward affair.
Monarch’s season ended with a 21-3 record and its first trip to state.
McCarthy advances to the state semifinals for the first time since 2011, when the Mavericks eventually lost in the championship game.
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Saturday’s semifinals will match Wellington against Orlando’s Bishop Moore at 10 a.m. and McCarthy vs. Orlando’s Timber Creek at noon. The final is set for 4 p.m., with all games at Pine Crest.
Columbus and Timber Creek both came out wearing white jersey tops and navy blue shorts, and the two teams did more than just look the same. They also played like mirror images of each other in the most tightly contested match of the night.
Timber Creek (23-4) finally prevailed 25-22, 26-28, 25-23, 25-17. But Columbus (24-3) fought off two set points to win the second game and battled the Wolves all night.
Meanwhile, the Mourning Sharks, who have made it to the state quarterfinals or beyond three years in a row, including the state semifinals last year, were eliminated by Wellington, 25-21, 17-25, 25-16, 25-18.
Mourning (24-7), which beat Wellington (19-8) in the regular season 2-1 had worked its way to a draw after Friday’s first two sets before fading down the stretch.
“It was mental,” Mourning coach Dee Rey said when asked what went wrong with her team, which had entered the tournament on an eight-match win streak. “It came down to [a lack of] execution.”
Palmetto, perhaps South Florida’s best chance at ending the region’s championship drought in boys’ volleyball, was the first school bounced from the eight-team state tournament.
Bishop Moore, which won state titles in 2010 and 2012, swept the Panthers 25-13, 25-17, 25-11.
South Florida hasn’t had a boys’ volleyball state champion since Southwest in 2008.
Palmetto (20-8), which beat Bishop Moore 25-15, 25-22 during the regular season, had no answer for the Hornets (21-5).
“Our team sort of fell apart — we weren’t working as a family,” said Palmetto star Devin Decker, a 6-6 senior outside hitter and four-year starter. “Our team was sort of overconfident. We weren’t ready to play. Bishop Moore is a state-contested team, and none of us had played in games like this. Bishop Moore was prepared to beat us.”
Palmetto coach Chris Kallinosis said his team was off its game — the reverse of what happened when the teams met in the regular season.
“It’s tough to have a game plan when we are making so many bad contacts on the ball,” he said. “Bishop Moore is a good team. They took us out of system with their serves in the beginning. They made it tough for our guys. We got a little rattled.”
▪ The Florida Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association recently selected its Mandy Stoll scholarship winners at its 37th annual conference banquet held this past weekend in Orlando.
Taravella’s Joshua Shawn Cerra and Archimedean’s Antonio Menarde were among the 10 winners.
The FIAAA initiated the Mandy Stoll scholarships in 1989 to honor the memory of Mandy Marie Stoll, who was killed in an automobile accident in April 1988. Stoll was an outstanding student athlete and tennis player that starred at Stetson University.
▪ Miami Country Day School senior David Gonzalez was named a finalist of the National Merit Scholarship.
Goleman softball senior Jessica Costero signed with Agnes Scott College. Costero hit .518 with four home runs, 27 RBI and 37 stolen bases this past season.