Belen Jesuit lacrosse reaches regional final

Nearly a year to the day after suffering a heartbreaking one-point overtime loss to Gulliver Prep in the very same round, the Belen Jesuit boys’ lacrosse team didn’t want history repeating itself.

And it did not as the Wolverines dominated

Nearly a year to the day after suffering a heartbreaking one-point overtime loss to Gulliver Prep in the very same round, the Belen Jesuit boys’ lacrosse team didn’t want history repeating itself.

And it did not as the Wolverines dominated from the opening whistle and cruised to a surprisingly lopsided 14-4 victory over Gulliver in a regional semifinal contest on a very busy Tuesday at Belen that saw the school not only hosting lacrosse but also the baseball district playoffs and a boys’ volleyball play-in game in the evening.

The win advanced the Belen lacrosse program to a place it has never been before, the regional finals. But the opportunity to advance to the state final four at Boca Raton High next week will be a challenge as Belen will travel north on Friday to take on either Boca Raton St. Andrews or defending state champion St. Thomas Aquinas, which in the semifinals late Tuesday night.

“From the minute they eliminated us in this same game a year ago, we set a goal to get back here and not let it happen again,” said senior Nico Smith, who led the way for Belen (15-6) with four goals. “We weren’t going to let anyone stop us, and now we’re moving on to new territory going to a first-ever regional final. This is for all the alumni that made us better the past three of four years that we’ve been here. We wanted to do it for them and everyone.”

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All of Smith’s goals came in the first half as Belen took a 7-3 lead at the break. Deiter Prussing and Robert Fernandez then took over in the second half scoring three times each as the Wolverines quickly pulled away.

“We worked hard all offseason, and our goal was to win districts and be the last team coming out of Miami-Dade County and whatever happens beyond that is all gravy, so here we are,” Belen coach Alan Bellando said. “Whether it’s St. Andrews, St. Thomas, whoever, we’re just looking forward to playing in a game Belen lacrosse has never reached before.

“Gulliver, we knew was a historically tough and well-coached program, so we just prepared our boys, and they really came to play today. We moved the ball, limited our turnovers and just did a good job of finding the net.”

BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL

Killian def. Belen Jesuit 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-20): Trailing Belen Jesuit 18-13 in the second set having already dropped the first, Killian, in a noisy hostile Belen gym with no momentum, was at a crossroads.

If it had any intention of defending its state championship from a year ago, it would have to find a way to pull things together. And that’s exactly what happened as the Cougars (24-3), led by senior star outside hitter Jomar Mondestin, went on a 12-3 run to close out the second set 25-21 and never looked back, cruising to the four-set win in a state play-in game.

The win advanced Killian to its third consecutive state tournament and sets up a matchup against No. 1-state ranked and nationally ranked Cardinal Gibbons in a state quarterfinal on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Ransom Everglades. Two of the Cougars three losses came against the Chiefs in the regular season.

“We have an experienced team and needed to draw on that experience tonight when things didn’t go well early on in order to get it turned around,” said Mondestin who finished with 13 kills and 12 digs. “Once we closed out that run to close out the second set, everything turned for us and we were okay after. Gibbons has beaten us twice and will be huge challenge but we’re looking forward to getting another shot at them.”

Daniel Pupiro led the way for the Cougars with 17 kills and 16 digs, and Diego Savelli had 35 assists, five kills and nine digs.

Bill Daley

Cardinal Gibbons d. Archbishop McCarthy 25-11, 25-16, 25-19: Reece Kramer had 11 kills and Michael Valenzi added eight kills and six assists to lead the Chiefs in a play-in match at Cardinal Gibbons.

Gibbons (26-0), which has won 15 consecutive games, will face Killian in a state quarterfinal match at Ransom Everglades on Friday.

The Chiefs are seeking their first state title since 2005. They are making their first appearance to the state tourney since 2008.

The Mavericks (19-8), who won the state title in 2016, have now lost to Gibbons in back-to-back years in play-in matches.

Gibbons the tone early with 14 kills in the first game with six coming from Kramer. McCarthy’s only lead of the match came when they went up 2-0 in the third game, but that was quickly erased when Chiefs reeled off nine of the next 10 points and never trailed again.

Sophomore Omar Hoyos led the Mavericks with 13 kills.

Dave Brousseau

BASEBALL

District 8-4A quarterfinal — Palmer Trinity 4, Ransom Everglades 3: WP: Pedro Torres 1 IP, 0R; Grant Foreman 7 IP, 3R, 5H, 4 Ks; Nick Sondon 2-4, 2 RBI; Gabe Gonzalez game-winning run.

District 8-4A quarterfinal — Florida Christian 15, Somerset South 0 (3 inn.): WP: Kyle Conway, 3-inning perfect game; Jason Gonzalez 1-2, HR (grand slam), 4 RBI; Carlos Perez 3-3, 3R, HR.

District 8-4A quarterfinal — Westminster Christian 17, Palm Glades Prep 0: WP: Dylan Carrasco; Anthony Vilar 2-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Nicky Perez 2-2, 4 RBI; Gabriel Patxot 2-2, 3B, 2 RBI; R.J. Ibanez 2-2, 2 RBI.

District 14-9A semifinal — Coral Park 11, South Miami 8: WP: Allan Hernandez 4 IP, 7 Ks; Zachary Neto 3-4, 2 RBI, 2R; Adrian Rodriguez 3-4, 2 RBI, 2R; Bran Socorro 2-5, 3 RBI; Hernandez 2-3, 4 RBI; SM: Kenneth Diaz 2-4, 3R; Sean Tejeda 2-3, 3 RBI; Aaron Cox 2-3, 2B, RBI. CP: 16-9.

District 8-3A quarterfinal — Doctor’s Charter 7, Dade Christian 4: WP: Charlie Calli CG, 9 Ks; Ethan Bustard 1-3, 3 RBI, 2R; Ken Brown 2R; Alfie Ramirez 1-2, R.

District 14-5A quarterfinal — North Broward Prep. 3, Somerset Academy 0: WP: Anthony Tomczak CG no-hitter; Xavier Edwards 1-3, 2B, RBI; Logan Clyatt 1-3, R; Matthew Corlew 1-2, 3B, R. NBP: 18-8.

District 15-8A semifinal — Nova 16, Hollywood Hills 1: WP: Dylan Kahn; Jared Campbeel 4-4, 3R, 5 RBI; Trace Moore 2-2, 2R, 2 RBI; NOV: 19-3.

District 15-8A semifinal — Cooper City 8, McArthur 0: WP: Douglas Weimann. CC: 7-14.

District 12-9A semifinal — Flanagan 4, Everglades 0: WP Derek Cabrera; Stephen Schissler 1-2, R, RBI; Tyler Epstein 1-2, RBI. FLAN: 22-1

District 12-9A semifinal — Cypress Bay 3, West Broward 2: WP: Tyler Nejaime; Jesus Pacheco 2-3, RBI; Elliot Rodriguez 3-3, R. CB: 12-6-1.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Regional semifinal — St. Thomas Aquinas 19, Ransom Everglades 2: Carly Steinlauf, 7 goals, 5 assists; Jada Preston, 6 goals, 3 assists; Ellie Riegner, 4 goals, 1 assist.

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