Cardinal Mooney edges Gibbons
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,
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