Broughton knocks off Cardinal Gibbons in 3rd round of playoffs

Posted October 29, 2016
Updated November 1, 2016

Broughton High School traveled to Cardinal Gibbons High School for the third round of the NCHSAA 4-A Volleyball State Playoffs on Saturday, October 29, 2016. This is a rematch of last year's quarterfinals game.  Broughton advances by defeating Cardinal Gibbons 3 sets to 2. (Photo By: Beth Jewell/HighSchoolOT.com)

— For the first time in eight seasons, Cardinal Gibbons’ volleyball team will not hoist a state championship banner.

The defending N.C. High School Athletic Association 4-A champions was upset Saturday night by Broughton, 3-2 (11-25, 25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 15-10), in the third round of the state playoffs.

“I’m happy for our kids. Every win at this time of the year is huge,” said Broughton head coach Jim Freeman. “[Cardinal] Gibbons played great; [they're] a really tough team, and they’re very well coached. [They’re] very difficult to beat.”

Cardinal Gibbons downed Broughton, 3-1, in last season’s quarterfinal en route to its first 4-A championship.

The No. 2-seeded Crusaders opened the match with a dominating showing in the first set, setting the tone with a 25-11 victory No. 3 seed Broughton.

Broughton reserve Holli Smith in at the setter position for Broughton due to an injury in the first set, but Freeman said the team fed off the junior's calm demeanor during tense situations throughout the match.

“The fact that Holly could come in and calm everybody down, that made all the difference for us," he said.

Following Cardinal Gibbons' first-set win, Capitals answered with two-straight set victories to take control of the match.

“We talk about staying focused and composed a lot, because we have the tendency to get too amped up" Freeman said. "That’s just how it is. We’re trying to manage it as much as we can."

Broughton battled back from five points down early in the second set, eventually tying the game at 20-all. The Capitals went on a 5-3 run after knotting the score to take the back-and-forth set, 25-23.

The Caps went on a 14-9 run after the teams split the first 22 points of the third set to take a 2-1 match lead.

Cardinal Gibbons led by as many as 10 points in the fourth set and ended on a 6-1 run to claim its second set win of the night and force the decisive fifth and final set.

“This team, especially after last season – we had 11 seniors, with a lot of them going to D-1 programs – everybody wrote us off before the season started,” said Cardinal Gibbons head coach Logan Barber. “These girls, never for one second, believed that they couldn’t be successful.

“They fought really hard all year long. They’ve proven that they belong in the top part of the state, even this year."

After trailing Broughton by three points early in the final set, Cardinal Gibbons fought back to take a 10-8 lead, forcing Freeman to use a timeout.

Following the break in action, Broughton went on a 7-0 run to clinch the match, 15-10, punching its ticket to a quarterfinals match with undefeated, and No. 1-seeded, D.H. Conley.

“It’s exciting; we’ve been wanting to do this for a while,” senior Kalee Vanderhorst said. “Since I’ve been here, it’s been our goal to beat them, and we finally came out and did it.”

Vanderhorst transferred to Broughton last season after spending her first two seasons at D.H. Conley.

"I'm still friends with some of the girls, but it's definitely going to be a really good game," Vanderhorst said. "They're a really good team."

The Capitals (21-1, 13-1 Cap 8) will travel to Greenville on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. quarterfinal tilt with the Vikings (24-0, 12-0 Eastern Carolina 3A/4A).

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