Allen Park Cabrini started the state tournament in fashion on Monday night with a sweep of Riverview Gabriel Richard in the first round of the Class C, District 72 playoffs at its home gym.
The two teams fought through a hard first set, but the Monarchs dominated the next two and ended the season for the rival Pioneers with a 3-0 victory (26-24, 25-17, 25-15).
Cabrini advanced to face either Ecorse or Melvindale ABT on Wednesday at 5 p.m., back on its floor. On Friday, the winner of that contest will face either Detroit Cristo Rey or Dearborn Riverside Academy.
Monday’s game at Cabrini featured the two strongest teams in District 72.
“This should have been the District final,” said Monarchs Coach Cheryl Szczodrowski. “But regardless we have to stay healthy and keep our head on straight because we had a stretch this year where we would lose our cool. We’ve played Class A teams all year long, so we’re ready to play anyone that comes against us.”
Cabrini started the first set up by six points and carried that score through a majority of the game, but the Pioneers put up a fight and rallied to tie the match at 24-a-piece.
Richard rode the hot hand of Sydney Kusiak through the first game. She had five of her total 11 kills on the night in the attempted comeback. Cabrini was helped by five kills from Katie Pinkowski in the 26-24 win.
Cabrini battled through the second and third games behind Gabby Martin, Arden Fuchs and Pinkowski to hold the Pioneers to a total of 32 points.
The Monarchs rode momentum all the way through the end of the match and along the way took advantage of defensive lapses from the Pioneers to take the final two sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-15.
“I definitely think that our season was a success, we’re a very young team with a lot of growth opportunities and our seniors are amazing,” Richard Coach Fallon Mullins said. “Where we fell short is a little bit of inexperience mixed with nerves of the big game.”