Of the eight schools represented at this weekend’s boys’ volleyball state tournament at Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest, no team competes with more energy than the Bishop Moore Hornets, whose bench players spend entire matches dancing, clapping and chanting things such as “You can’t do that” to try and unnerve opponents.
And of those eight schools represented at state, no team had shorter rest than Archbishop McCarthy, which had to play its quarterfinal match until 11 p.m. Friday night, was back at Pine Crest at 9 a.m. Saturday for a noon semifinal and then had less than two hours to eat, rest a bit and play the state final.
In the end, Bishop Moore beat the weary and tired McCarthy Mavericks 22-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-21.
“We’re pretty worked — a little exhausted,” McCarthy middle blocker David Maniglia said. “But we played well. We played our hardest.”
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The loss for McCarthy (20-9) extended a local trend — there has not been a South Florida state champion in boys’ volleyball since Southwest in 2008.
Since then, five South Florida teams have lost in the state final — Southwest twice, McCarthy twice and Sunset. McCarthy came the closest to ending the drought, losing in five sets in 2011.
Bishop Moore (23-5) has been the overall best program in the state over the past half-dozen years, winning state titles in 2010, 2012 and 2015.
But Hornets coach Tom Snodgrass, who has been there for all three of those championships, said he was impressed with McCarthy and coach Karen Frank.
“We have been playing them in the state tournament for years, and what Coach Frank does with those kids is phenomenal,” Snodgrass said. “They are all juniors. Their time is coming — I guarantee it. They are going to make a great run at it next year.”
Snodgrass, who has eight seniors, perhaps exaggerated a bit when it came to the McCarthy roster. The Mavericks are actually graduating three seniors — Maniglia, Nicholas Covone and Christian Amortegui.
But the coach’s point was well taken — the Mavericks program is in good shape with returning players such as junior outside hitter Michael Moreiras, who led the team with 31 kills in Saturday’s two games.
Fourteen of those kills came in the Mavericks’ state semifinal win, a 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23 victory over Orlando’s Timber Creek.
“I got just six hours of sleep, maybe less,” Moreiras said after the Timber Creek match, in which he also had 13 digs. “I was playing that whole [Timber Creek] match really tired. I just had to push through it.”
The match ended at 2 p.m., and — rather than a post-match speech — Frank had just one word for her team:
“Eat,” she urged her players. “Eat!”
Now that the season is over, the Mavericks can rest. But if Snodgrass and others are right, they will be back here next year.
“They are a scrappy team,” Timber Creek coach Cameron Stevens said of McCarthy. “They don’t quit.”