In just three sets, it was all over.
Cardinal Mooney once again pieced together an extraordinary season, but it all ended at the hands of Plymouth Christian Academy – the No. 1-ranked Class D team by Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association.
The No. 8-ranked Cardinals fell in sweeping fashion in the quarterfinals (25-14, 25-19, 25-18) to the powerful Eagles. While the Eagles – who have just one senior – are off to the state semifinals, Mooney was left wrapping up its season in the quarterfinals for a third straight season.
“I can’t believe it’s over and I’m a bit surprised how it ended too,” Mooney head coach Dennis Caulfield said after the game. “We had a great season, nothing to take away from the girls and the team. We played a very, very good volleyball team tonight. I guess that’s why they’re number one.
“I don’t think we played to our potential we got out of it in the first game or two. We had a hard time passing and a hard time attacking.”
The loss also ends the prep careers of seniors Calista Chaltron and Michelle Rovito, who walked off the court with arms around each other.
“Just the respect and talent they brought and had for the program, it will be hard to replace them,” Caulfield said.
The Cardinals did come out poised, taking a 6-4 lead in front of a raucous Plymouth Christian student section. However, five hitting errors by the Cardinals helped the Eagles to a 9-2 run and a 13-8 lead they wouldn’t give back. The first set ended with a 7-2 run by the Eagles that saw attacks from a myriad of Eagles.
The second set didn’t start any easier for the Cardinals, who saw Plymouth Christian take a 9-1 lead to begin the game. The Cardinals, however, did make two small runs at the lead.
The first 4-0 run used a startling kill by Chaltron and a block by Anna Vorderbrueggen to close the gap to 6-10.
A few sequences later, Vorderbrueggen served up back-to-back aces to make it just a 13-9 Eagles lead.
However, that’s just about the closest the Cardinals would get in the set, losing 25-19.
Mooney found some energy to start the third set, jumping out to a 6-3 lead that was kick-started by a Lilly Wolf ace. Once again, the powerful Eagles attack stormed to a 12-10 lead with the crowd once again at their side.
Chaltron, as she did all night, nearly sent a spike through the wood floor to give Mooney a 13-12 lead, but it would be their final lead of the season.
“When the season started we lost five seniors from last season,” Caulfield said. “So did I think we would get here? No. Once we started did I think we would? Yes. And I’m very, very happy with the season overall.”
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.