PASCAGOULA – Sacred Heart volleyball held a 24-22 lead in the first set of Tuesday’s night South State championship game against Resurrection Catholic. However, after a timeout by the Eagles, Resurrection rallied and capped off its 4-0 run with an ace that just tipped over the net.
The ace not only sealed the Eagles’ win of the set, but also illustrated the tip of momentum for Resurrection for the rest of the night, which helped end the Crusaders’ magical season. Resurrection came away with a 26-24, 25-21, 25-16 sweep over Sacred Heart (14-4) to advance to the 1A state championship match.
For Resurrection (14-3), the win is the Eagles’ fourth South State Championship in the last five years.
“It was a hard fought battle,” Sacred Heart coach Kerry Geroux said. “We played really good. Their crowd made a lot of noise. Some calls didn’t go our way like I thought they should have, but we played hard. I’m proud of my girls.
“We let a few shots get away, but this really was a great match.”
The opening set went back and forth between the two teams and had 10 lead changes. After trailing 21-19, Sacred Heart pulled ahead with a 5-0 run before the Eagles picked up the win in the first and took hold of momentum.
The second set opened with Resurrection opening with a 3-0 lead and holding a 3-point lead for the majority of the set. The Crusaders responded and tied the game at 16-16, but Resurrection managed to stay ahead. Sacred Heart narrowed the lead by two-points at 23-21, but the Eagles held on as Resurrections’ Mia Holland put the set away with a kill.
Holland and her teammate Emma Godfrey were consistent problems for Sacred Heart as the two combined to total 15 kills and three blocks on the night.
The momentum continued to stick with Resurrection in the final set as the Eagles jumped out to its largest lead of the night at 14-7. Sacred Heart pulled within two points at 17-15 after Kate Gallardo delivered three consecutive kills. Gallardo led Sacred Heart with eight kills on the night. However, Resurrection surged ahead and closed the match with an 8-1 run to secure the win.
Despite Sacred Heart graduating five seniors, Geroux, who gave credit to his seniors for being key parts in the team’s accomplishments, is confident that his team will have greater success next season.
“I’ve been here eight years now and this is the best team I have ever had,” Geroux said. “This is the best season we have ever had. We looked so good at times. We played hard with everybody. (Resurrection) will probably win the state title, but this is a great team. We (gave) great effort. Great bunch of senior leaders. We will have a good team coming back next year.”