Sometimes the pedigree is just too much to overcome.
The LaSalle girls volleyball team found that out on Thursday night when the Royal Lions hosted Cardinal Gibbons in a Region 4-4A quarterfinal.
Taking on a Gibbons program that hangs a state record 20 state championship banners in its gym, LaSalle is a program that had never won a single regional playoff match in its history.
That didn’t change on Thursday. The Chiefs, who last won a state title in 2015, dominated from start to finish, sweeping the Royal Lions in straight sets 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-19) to advance to next week’s regional semifinals.
Gibbons, a No. 5 seed after dropping its district championship to Pine Crest last week, will travel to Miami again Oct. 29 to take on No. 1 seed St. Brendan. It will be a rematch from a month ago when St. Brendan beat the Chiefs in the Chillin on the Bay Tournament at Westminster Christian.
“We lost a tough one to Pine Crest last week so it was important for the girls to re-focus and come out here tonight and take care of their business because it’s regionals now which means win or go home,” Gibbons coach Kathryn Reeber said. “They were aware of that and came out ready to go from the opening whistle.”
Reeber watched her Chiefs (17-10) jump all over the Royal Lions by getting out to a 14-2 lead in the first set, cruising to an easy 25-10 win. LaSalle (15-9) enjoyed its only lead of the night when they jumped out to a 5-4 lead in the second set. But Gibbons then went on a 10-1 run to seize control of things and never looked back from there.
“We really wanted to play well tonight because we were upset over the loss to Pine Crest,” said senior middle hitter Jeyhlen Thomas, who led thew way for with eight kills, four blocks, two digs and a service ace. “The idea was to come out tonight and play our hardest, and get refocused because we know we’re good enough to take it all the way.”
Micaela Restrepo (five kills, one block) and Grace Connellan (15 assists, 22 service points, four aces) also contributed to the Gibbons win.
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▪ 6A quarterfinal — Lourdes d. Nova 3-2 (19-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20, 15-10): Valentina Marin Rojer 25 kills 13 digs, Gaby Duque 12 kills 5 blocks, Kayla Cuesta 24 asst 13 digs 2 aces. LOU: 18-9.
A program already steeped in excellence, the Belen Jesuit cross-country team won its 16th consecutive District 8-3A title held Thursday at Larry & Penny Thompson Park.
This is the 38th district title in the 50 years of the program at the school. The Wolverines had the first nine finishers for a perfect score of 15 points. The team was led by Diego Gomez, who finished the 5K first with a time of 16:42 followed by Aiden Villasuso in 16:43. The Wolverines now advance to regionals to be held on Nov. 2 in Stuart.
▪ GMAC bowling championship: TERRA boys and girls win titles. Boys d. Coral Park 3-0, Cutler Bay 3-0 and Columbus 3-2. TERRA was trailing 2-0, and rallied to win three consecutive games and its second GMAC title in a row. Ryan Toffoli, last year’s Miami Herald Bowler of the Year, posted 82 percent strikes for the Baker Format tournament.
TERRA girls defeated Reagan 3-0, Braddock 3-1 and Ferguson in the title match 3-0. Sophomores Ella Perez, Gilian Pons and anchor Alexa Puett’s clutch bowling led the team to the title.