Car­di­nal Mooney edges Gib­bons

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Steve Evans Cor­re­spon­dent

FORT LAUD­ERDALE — Car­di­nal Mooney’s abil­ity to win sev­eral key points helped the Cougars deny Car­di­nal Gib­bons the op­por­tu­nity to play for an un­prece­dented 21st state girls vol­ley­ball ti­tle as vis­it­ing Mooney de­feated the Lady Chiefs 25-23, 25-27, 25-22, 25-23 in a state 5A semi­fi­nal matchup.

“My heart is bro­ken for them be­cause I wanted more than any­thing for them to feel that feel­ing of put­ting an­other ban­ner up on the wall,” said Gib­bons coach Kathryn Ree­ber. “I’m so proud of them, it’s hard to lose but [Mooney] was a great team.”

Mooney (22-2) won the open­ing game 25-23 de­spite trail­ing 8-4 early in the game. Trail­ing 19-17, the Cougars won the next five points and 8 of the last

12 to clinch the open­ing game.

Gib­bons (21-11) ral­lied to win the sec­ond game

27-25, on the strength of a

7-0 run to start the game. Se­nior Izzy Vic­tor had five of her team-high 14 kills to help the Lady Cougars even the match at a game apiece.

Mooney won the piv­otal third game 25-22 as the Cougars never trailed in the game and se­nior Kali Plat­tner had a pair of her team-high 12 kills in that game.

The fourth game fea­tured three lead changes and was tied eight times, the last at 21-21 be­fore Skye Ekes block put the Cougars ahead 22-21.

On match point, Gib­bons served try­ing to tie the score at 24, how­ever, the Cougars pulled out the fi­nal point of the match as the Lady Chiefs could not re­turn Plat­tner’s at­tack for Mooney.

Satur­day’s other state semi­fi­nals

9A: Palm Beach Gar­dens def. Mi­ami South­west 25-11, 25-12, 25-23

8A: St. Thomas Aquinas def. Venice 25-17,

25-21, 21-25, 25-21

4A: Ben­jamin def. Riviera Prep 25-17, 25-20,

25-17

State fi­nals in Fort My­ers

9A: Palm Beach Gar­dens vs. Oviedo, 4 p.m. Fri­day

8A: St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Tampa Plant,

7 p.m. Thurs­day

4A: Ben­jamin vs. Shorecrest Prep, 10 a.m. Satur­day

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