Defending champions Belen Jesuit and Ransom Everglades have made it back to this week’s FHSAA Water Polo State Championships at Ransom Everglades.READ MORE: CBS4's Steve Goldstein Previews The NFL's Divisional Round Playoffs
Defending boys’ state champion Belen Jesuit remained undefeated (24-0) with a 14-1 rout of rival Gulliver Prep. It was the Wolverines’ 50th victory in their last 51 matches.
Goalie Erick Labrador came up with 13 blocks for the Wolverines. Adrian Hernandez led scoring with four goals. Pablo Kurzan and Nico Tamborrel each had three goals. Alex Alepuz had four steals and Alex Boza had three assists.
Belen Jesuit will now play Mourning, 8-7 overtime winners over Miami Country Day, in the state quarterfinals at host Ransom Everglades on Friday in the first of four games at 9:30 a.m.
Defending girls’ champion Ransom Everglades (22-4) won a hard-fought 11-8 game over rival Gulliver Prep for the third year and will play MAST Academy, 18-3 winners over Dr. Krop, in Friday’s quarterfinals at noon.
Ransom Everglades is seeking its seventh state crown in the last eight years.
The Raiders, who defeated Gulliver Prep three out of four times they met this season, were led by Sofia Carrera-Justiz with five goals and Isa Reyes-Capo with three goals. Goalie Claire McDowell came up with 16 blocks.
Fort Lauderdale High continued to make history for the second consecutive week. After sweeping district titles last weekend, the Flying L’s swept region titles for the first time in school history at their home pool and will make their first-ever state tournament appearance.
Fort Lauderdale’s girls team (15-3) handed Taravella a 17-3 rout in the play-in game.
Senior Haley Hill, who qualified for her first state tournament, had three goals, five steals and five assists. Senior teammate Juliana Freire scored a team-high five goals. Junior Carley Thornton had three goals. Emily Hill had two goals and now has 44 goals for the season. Goalie Kalina Anderson had 14 blocks.
Fort Lauderdale is the only public high school from Broward or Miami-Dade to advance both teams to the state tournament.
“I would think it makes a big statement for our program that the little guy can put it together and do it,” Fort Lauderdale coach Deb Cavanaugh said. “All it takes is for the kids to want to win.”
The Flying L’s will play South Broward in the quarterfinals Friday at 9 a.m. and will renew a rivalry between longtime friends, masters water polo teammates and coaches Chris Bloese of South Broward and Cavanaugh.
“The ultimate goal was to play each other in the quarterfinals,” Cavanaugh said. “Now it’s everybody for themselves. Chris came to our game last night. One, she came to support us and two, she came to scout us,” Cavanaugh said with a laugh. “This is so tough for me; she is one of my favorite people.”
The Flying L’s boys’ team (14-4), the surprise team of Broward County this season, routed Coral Springs, 17-7, and will play St. Thomas Aquinas, the state runner-up last year, in Friday’s quarterfinals at 12:30 p.m.READ MORE: Miami Proud: Trailblazer Celebrated For 25 Years Of Service To The South Florida Autism Community
Andre Williams scored a career-high 10 goals and had 10 steals to lead the boys and now has 89 goals for the season. He also had one assist and one block in one of the most dominating games by a boys player. Williams was playing with a sore back and neck he injured while doing back flips in snow during spring break.
Chad Kersey added four goals, six steals, two assists and one block.
“They did play very well,” Cavanaugh said. “We have been switching Andre from 2-meter to set. He went in last night in the second half and was like a terror in there. He just kept putting the ball in the net.”
Cavanaugh and her players were still cloud-walking on Sunday.
“It finally set in today,” Cavanaugh said. I couldn’t be more pleased with our kids. This is magical. I was thinking about it. My God these kids kept losing and losing and then they went from second to first. It is amazing. I am so shocked. Not that they couldn’t do it, but more the fact they did it.”
“I think my boys are absolutely shocked. They never thought they would go this far. They are in the Top 8 at state and it is a big deal for them. The girls, too, but we had hoped to do this with the girls from the start. The girls and boys finally put it together and boom things clicked.”
The Flying L’s lost to St. Thomas Aquinas during the regular season.
“St. Thomas will be really tough,” Cavanaugh said. “They have a little more depth in the water than we do. But our guys are psyched now and could do it. This is fairy tale land now.”
In other matchups:
South Broward 20, Cooper City 3: The Bulldogs (19-4) will make their second state tournament appearance in the program’s history and first since 2011.
Courtny Cook had four goals, eight steals and three assists. Madison Martinez led scoring with six goals and had four steals and three assists. Emma Leto had three goals and six assists. Racquel Jimenez had three goals, four assists and two steals. Nikki Gonzalez had two goals. Goalie Tatum Skove came up with 10 saves.
MAST Academy 18, Dr. Krop 3: The Makos remained undefeated (18-0) to make their second consecutive state tournament appearance. Cara Mullery led scoring with seven goals, six assists and two steals. Angie Varona, Valerie Bracho and Barbara Carbonell each scored two goals. Varona also had four assists and two steals.
St. Thomas Aquinas 14, Cypress Bay 5: The Raiders started the season inexperienced but got better and better to win the region title. Goalie Alex Pullin came up with 16 saves. Parker Strickman led scoring with five goals and Dante Coniglio added three goals. The Raiders shut down Cypress Bay’s Andres Schmidt, regarded as the county’s top player.
Mourning 8, Miami Country Day 7 (OT, 1-0): Daniel Scotese scored the winning goal to lead Mourning to its first state appearance. The Sharks will meet Belen Jesuit in the quarterfinals.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
at Ransom Everglades Aquatic Center
April 15, Friday, Girls Quarterfinals, Fort Lauderdale vs. South Broward, 9 a.m.; Lake Brantley vs. Olympia, 10:30 a.m.; MAST Academy vs. Ransom Everglades, noon; Lake Nona vs. St. Andrew’s, 1:30 p.m.; Semifinals, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; Boys Quarterfinals, Mourning vs. Belen Jesuit, 9:30 a.m.; St. Andrew’s vs. Lake Nona, 11 a.m.; Fort Lauderdale vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, 12:30 p.m.; Seminole vs. Winter Park, 2 p.m.; Semifinals, 5:30 and 8 p.m.MORE NEWS: Miami Weather: Warmer Afternoon, Spotty Showers Possible
April 16, Saturday: Girls final, 2 p.m.; Boys final, 4 p.m.