BY WALTER VILLA
The boys’ volleyball state championship, which will be played out Friday and Saturday at Fort Lauderdale’s Pine Crest High School, features eight teams – six of them from South Florida – and no clear favorite.
Tampa’s Berkeley Prep beat Longwood Lyman for the 2014 title, but both of those schools failed to make it back to state. Also missing is Orlando’s Dr. Phillips, which was 25-0 before getting upset in the district playoffs.
Of the eight teams that will be at Pine Crest this weekend, only
two - Timber Creek (2009) and Bishop Moore (2010, 2012) - have won state titles. Both of those schools are from Orlando.
“It’s up for grabs,” Palmetto Coach Chris Kallinosis said of the tournament. “Usually there’s a strong favorite or two. But I think there are at least five teams who have a legitimate shot.”
Palmetto (19-7) got perhaps a tough draw by having to face Bishop Moore (20-5) in Friday’s quarterfinals. Bishop Moore swept Berkeley Prep to get here. But a further look reveals that Palmetto beat Bishop Moore 25-15, 25-22 during the regular season. Bishop Moore also lost to Wellington, a team Palmetto beat.
In addition, Palmetto has 6-6 senior outside hitter Devin Decker, a player Kallinosis considers to be the best in the county.
“He’s been starting for us all four years,” the coach said.”He’s a force at the net. He’s our captain and a big reason why we are at state.”
Wellington (18-8) takes on Mourning (24-6) in the other part of Palmetto’s side of the bracket. Mourning beat Wellington 2-1 earlier this season.
Mourning has won eight matches in a row. During that streak, the Sharks beat Southwest and Palmetto, avenging earlier losses to those teams. They also beat Berkeley Prep.
But the Sharks, who lost to Bishop Moore in the 2013 state quarterfinals and Lyman in last year’s state semifinals, were 0-3 against Orlando teams this season, losing to Dr. Phillips, Bishop Moore and Apopka.
The other half of the bracket features Monarch (21-2) against Archbishop McCarthy (18-8) and Timber Creek (22-4) vs. Columbus (24-2).
Monarch is the surprise team of the tournament. The Knights went 2-13 in 2012 and 3-13 in 2013 before posting a winning record last year.
This year, they won a district title for the first time in program history, but they have yet to play a team outside of South Florida.
They lost in straight sets to Wellington in their only matchup against a team currently at state.
McCarthy is back at state for the first time since 2012. From 2009 to 2012, the Mavericks lost to the eventual state champion four years in a row: Timber Creek, Bishop Moore, Seminole Ridge and Bishop Moore.
In terms of common opponents with Monarch, McCarthy has the edge having beaten Wellington 3-1.
Columbus, which reached the state semifinals in 2012, may have the toughest challenge of all the local teams in its matchup with Timber Creek, which is led by 6-5 junior Michael MacGillivray, a Division I prospect according to his coach.
McCarthy Coach Karen Frank, who has seen every team at state play this season, believes it will be a “close” tournament.
“At the beginning of the year, everyone was talking that it would be a Lyman-Dr. Phillips final, and neither of those teams are here,” she said. “I think all eight teams have the ability to advance to the final.”
Gio Gonzalez and Jon Jay are taking a moment before the start of the Major League Baseball season to help kids in need.
The two famous Miami-Dade County baseball alums will be coaching when Columbus High hosts a Miracle League baseball game Saturday morning at its school's baseball field in support of children with special needs.
The game will be played at 11 a.m. and will be attended by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Marc Buoniconti, President of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, who will each throw out the game's first pitches along with Columbus School President Brother Kevin Handibode.
Each Miracle League player will be paired up with one of the Columbus varsity players who will be their "buddy" and who will assist the player throughout the game both on and off the field.
For more information about joining a team, volunteering during games or supporting the Miracle League of Miami Dade, please visit www.mlomd.org.
Outgoing seniors Sony Michel and Isaiah McKenzie were two big names on hand to watch the Plantation Anerican Heritage spring game on Thursday afternoon.
But the team's biggest name wasn't even on campus.
Dual-threat quarterback Torrance Gibson, rated the No. 1 player at the athlete position by both ESPN and 247Sports, missed the school's intrasquad scrimmage for disciplinary reasons.
Gibson — who tweeted Monday "Minor setback for a major comeback. Just wait on it" — did not give a reason himself via text message Thursday for his absence.
"I'm not playing," he said.
Gibson did acknowledge he is not injured.
"No," he said, "I can't play."
Heritage athletic director Karen Stearns did not want to comment on Gibson's situation to “respect his privacy,” but also acknowledged he is not injured.
As for the defending Class 5A champions' offense, it moved as well as it could behind freshman quarterback Jason Brown.
Brown — who held his head high and proceeded to keep working while struggling during the first half of play — had two interceptions and a fumble, but got on the scoreboard with a goal-line fade pass to junior receiver Brandon Johnson towards the end of the first half.
Senior linebacker Christain Irving (5-11, 205) caught both interceptions, and ecstatically said on the sidelines he had “magnets in his gloves.”
Junior linebacker Bradley Clement (5-10, 225) and junior weakside defensive end Brian Burns (6-5, 205) also were standout players on defense. Five-star cornerback Tarvarus McFadden (6-3, 195) had his fair share of frustration with the offense avoiding his side of the field.
When Gibson does return to the helm of the Patriots' offense, he'll have his share of weapons to compensate for the departures of Michel and McKenzie.
The Patriots have a trio of running backs at their disposal in senior speedster Travis Jackson (5-7, 180), junior Shaddrick Lowery and sophomore Kyshaun Bryan (5-10, 185). Gibson will also look to continue his chemistry with Johnson and fellow junior wide receiver Dredrick Snelson.
As for Michel and McKenzie, they will be roommates when they arrive at the University of Georgia on May 31.
And as for the current crop of Heritage players, coaches from Florida State, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Jacksonville and Florida Tech were on hand for the game. LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder — former Heritage coach from 1983-1987 — visited the school earlier Thursday.
Here you go, hot off the presses right here from the Miami Herald.
After a fun day of rain and rescheduling and running around sloshing around Miami, here's the list of games that were postponed and were rescheduled for Thursday.
Here's Thursday's new schedule
BASEBALL regional quarterfinals
Region 4-8A: Coral Gables at American, 11 a.m.
Region 4-8A at Alex Fernandez: Hialeah at Goleman, 2
Region 4-8A: South Dade at Sunset, 11 a.m.
Region 3-8A: Cypress Bay at Douglas, 1
Region 3-8A: Coral Glades at Flanagan, 1
Region 4-7A: Monarch at St. Thomas Aquinas, 7
Region 4-7A: Nova at Northeast, 7
Region 4-6A: Belen at Archbishop McCarthy, 7
Region 4-6A at Westland Gardens Park: Pembroke Pines Charter at Mater Academy, 11 a.m.
Region 4-5A: Riviera Beach Suncoast at American Heritage, 7
Region 4-5A: Pompano Beach at Jensen Beach, 7
Region 4-4A at St. Thomas University: Gulliver vs. La Salle, 11 a.m.
Region 4-4A: TERRA at St. Brendan, 11 a.m.
Region 4-4A: North Broward Prep at Monsignor Pace, 7
Region 4-3A: Delray American Heritage at Coral Springs Christian, 7
Region 4-3A at Florida Memorial: Mater Lakes vs. Westminster Christian, 4
Region 4-3A: Dade Christian at Florida Christian, 7
Region 4-3A: Highlands Christian at Boca Raton Pope John Paul II, 7
Region 4-2A at Miami Christian: Redland Christian vs. Brito, 10 a.m.
Region 4-2A: Westwood Christian at Colonial Christian, 4
Region 4-2A: Champagnat Catholic at Zion Lutheran, 3:30
Region 4-2A at Curtis Park: Sheridan Hills Christian vs. Mater East, 7
Region 4-8A: American at Goleman, 11 a.m.
Region 4-6A at Bucky Dent Park: Pembroke Pines Charter at Mater Academy, 6
Region 4-2A: Zion Lutheran at Sheridan Hills Christian, 2
Only games that have been played so far Wednesday are:
Region 4-8A: Killian 1, Southwest 0
Region 4-4A: Coral Springs Charter 14, Archbishop Carroll 4
Region 4-8A Coral Reef-Palmetto suspended 2-1 in 1st. was going to play Wednesday night at Palmetto Bay Park.
Region 4-4A: Coral Springs Charter 13, Monsignor Pace 0
Region 4-2A: Princeton Christian 18, Westwood Christian 3
Inclement weather led to the postponement of several regional softball semifinal games Tuesday.
Region 4-8A: The Palmetto-Coral Reef game was moved to Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at Coral Reef. The American-Goleman was also rescheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Goleman.
Region 4-6A: The Pembroke Pines Charter- Mater Academy game was moved to Wednesday at Bucky Dent Park at 7 p.m.
Region 4-4A: The Coral Springs Charter- Monsignor Pace game was moved to noon Wednesday at Pace.
Region 4-2A: The Westwood Christian-Princeton Christian game was moved to Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Princeton Christian. The Zion Lutheran-Sheridan Hills Christian game was moved to Thursday at Sheridan Hills tentatively at 4 p.m.
Three-time defending state champion Archbishop McCarthy beat Gulliver Prep 3-1 on Saturday as part of the third annual Field of Dreams game at Marlins Park. It was held during the MetroPCS Miami Marlins Winter Warm Up.
Junior left-hander Brian Gonzalez, who also produced a two-run double in the first inning, earned the victory. The Raiders manufactured a run in the sixth on junior shortstop Joe Dunand's RBI line drive to right-center field following a leadoff single, balk and groundout. The Mavericks countered with an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning on junior outfielder Brandon Vicens' sacrifice fly.
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
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