RALEIGH — Winning championships never gets old for Cardinal Gibbons volleyball. The Crusaders will have another shot at a state title Saturday after blanking Big Eight 3A Conference rival Chapel Hill 3-0 Tuesday night in the N.C. Eastern Regional final.
The Crusaders will be going for a record fifth straight N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A title at N.C. States Reynolds Coliseum at 5 p.m. against Carson.
Gibbons (27-0), coached by Logan Barber, eliminated a foe it was very familiar with in Chapel Hill.
The Tigers (22-9) also have a proud volleyball tradition. Coach Sherry Norris is the state leader in wins and has led her team to two state titles in volleyball and one in basketball. Gibbons also eliminated the Tigers from the playoffs the previous four years. During the regular season, Gibbons beat Chapel Hill twice this year.
Cardinal Gibbons is just better than we are, said Norris. Theyre more consistent. We were going to have to play this match with no errors. But in the first game we never did get the ball to Perry Ramsey on the outside. Shes got more kills on our team than anyone, but we didnt get it to her. Our blocking wasnt effective tonight and thats a tribute to them, because theyre a great team.
Sophomore hitter Briley BrindAmour helped Gibbons jump ahead early in the first game and, after Chapel Hill tied the score at 5-5, she scored again and the Crusaders led the rest of the way for a 25-17 decision in the first set.
The Crusaders led the whole way in the last two sets, winning 25-10 and 25-17.
Weve played them before and know theyre a great team and Sherry Norris is a great coach, Barber said. It wasnt the cleanest match weve ever played, but we stuck to our game plan enough to get the points when it mattered to get the win.
Barber said this team is a little different from last years edition.
This group in particular, rather than having a star player, this is a real team effort. Briley BrindAmour and Amy Robertson did a great job on the outside, but everyone has to be successful. We need Bianca Gartner and our setters Cheyenne Wood and Erin Quinn to have a great game passing the ball for us to be successful.
Barber said his team does not take winning for granted, that playing for championships keeps it motivated.
The true story is every year this is one of these girls first chance and every year this is one of these girls last chance, so theyre not looking past any one of them, Barber said.
We know were getting every teams best shot every time we play them, said Quinn, a senior and two-year starter. Every team wants to say that they beat Cardinal Gibbons, but we find a way to get there step by step every year and winning the state championship is a goal we have every year. It would be a great way to go out.