When things got tough for the Cardinal Gibbons volleyball team versus Person, the Crusaders didn’t panic. According to head coach Logan Barber, they just kept “doing our thing.”
Their thing worked, and the Crusaders got back above .500 with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-8, 25-22) sweep of the Rockets. Cardinal Gibbons improved to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in their new conference, the PAC-6. Person dropped to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in league play.
“They have a much faster offense than we do,” Rockets coach Amanda Ramirez said. “And I think it took us a good amount of time to catch up to their way of running their offense.”
By the time Person caught up, Gibbons had a 2-0 lead in the match.
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In the do-or-die set for the Rockets, the visitors from Roxboro gave the Crusaders their best shot, taking their first lead, 13-12, thanks to consecutive service points from Avery Bowman. However, the Rockets could not extend it past two points, allowing Gibbons to stick around.
Crusaders middle blocker Joya Libbus tied the final game at 19 with a kill, before Person reclaimed the lead two more times.
Sarah Nacouzi’s kill tied the game at 22, and a service point from Mia Fradenburg gave the Crusaders the lead for good.Cardinal Gibbons senior Emma Longley finished the Rockets off with consecutive kills.
As Barber said, the Crusaders never compromised on “their thing,” even with their backs against the wall.
“The thing that we talked about much as possible is just taking advantage of every opportunity,” he said. “Every time the ball comes over the net, it’s going to be a little bit different, but (they) have to judge it and do the most they can with it. We have to go with the flow a little bit … figure out each play as you go. We found a way to get the most of every opportunity we had.”
When Person took a two-point lead late in the final set, Barber elected not to call a timeout; he let his veteran team play through it.
“We let the kids figure it out,” Barber said. “That’s what they will have to do later on, so we got it worked out. It was good for us to finish off the way we did.”
Easy for the Barber to say on the sidelines, but to their credit, his players on the floor kept their composure and were able to hold off a determined Rockets team.
“It felt good, just working as a team and being able to finish as a team,” Longley said. “It’s really good coming into a new conference, it’s like a confidence booster.”
Three who mattered
Briley Brind’Amour, Cardinal Gibbons: The senior co-captain finished with 12 kills and came up big at the net, and the service line, in the final set when the team needed her the most.
Tori Dozier, Cardinal Gibbons: Dozier, the setter on the Crusaders team, finished with 25 assists and added three aces.
Emma Longley, Cardinal Gibbons: Finished with eight kills and seven aces for the Crusaders.
By the numbers
14: Digs by Cardinal Gibbons junior Abby Crawford
6: Consecutive service points by Longley in the second set, giving Gibbons an early 10-1 advantage
0: Times Person led in the first two sets.
They said it
“We turned it up,” Ramirez said of her Rcokets’ improved play in the final set.
Person will host Riverside next, and look to get back on track in league play. Ramirez knows playing a tough team like Gibbons early in the conference season will only help.
“Playing really great competition is really good for us,” Ramirez said. “Playing probably the toughest team in the conference early on, it shows us what we have to work towards for the rest of our season.”