The Cougars beat Oxbridge Academy in five sets
For the first time since 2000, the Cardinal Mooney volleyball team is headed to the Final Four.
The Cougars defeated Oxbridge Academy in five sets to advance to the state semifinals. After dropping the first set 25-17, which coach Chad Sutton was due to nerves, the Cougars settled down and took control. They won the second set 25-18 and the fourth set 25-15. The third set, which they dropped, was 25-23, Oxbridge eking out a close one.
Once Mooney forced a fifth set, Sutton said, he and his team felt confident. They haven't lost a fifth set all season, he said, and even they would prefer not to let it get that far, they are comfortable playing that winner-take-all set. It showed against Oxbridge Academy, with the Cougars going up 6-1 in the fifth set before eventually winning 15-9.
"When we're great, we're great," Sutton said.
Senior Kali Plattner had 22 kills, 13 dig and four aces for the Cougars. Junior Sophia Hritz added 16 kills, 14 digs and two aces, and sophomore Skye Ekes 14 kills and four blocks.
Sutton said he felt the same feeling pregame as he did on Senior Night, when the Cougars defeated Riverview High in five sets. This was another "special night," he said. Now that the team is headed to the Final Four, the Cougars don't plan on changing much, Sutton said.
The Cougars (24-7) will play their state semifinal at Cardinal Gibbons High (21-9) at 2 p.m. Nov. 10.