The last time Ferguson celebrated a GMAC girls’ volleyball championship, it finished its season at the state tournament.
After Tuesday night, the Falcons are hoping history repeats itself.
Led by solid blocking and precise passing that set up a consistent attack, Ferguson defeated Coral Reef 25-20, 25-16 to secure its second GMAC title and first since 2009.
Ferguson also defeated Killian and Hialeah during the one-day, eight-team tournament and now awaits a coin flip with Lourdes to determine who will earn the No. 1 seed in next week’s District 15-8A tournament.
“We have a young team, but we’ve kept on improving every day,” Ferguson coach Greg Shanower said. “I’ve just told them seize the moment every time. We knew they were a smart team, and I told my girls that defense would win this game.”
Daniela Diaz led the Falcons (18-2) with seven kills, and Alexandra Reczek had 12 digs.
Setter Sophie Serrano paced Ferguson’s attack finishing with nine assists and two kills. Serrano, a four-year starter, also registered two consecutive aces to clinch the match. As soon as the ball landed on the other side of the court, Serrano ran to her teammates and celebrated.
“This group had never won GMAC’s so we knew this was our last chance,” Serrano said. “It feels amazing.”
Serrano is one of two seniors, along with middle hitter Annika Reczek, who joined the team in 2010 following the school’s best season that finished with a trip to the state final four.
That season, Ferguson won only five matches.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work and practicing every day to get better,” Serrano said. “We have some great coaches that have helped us get better.”
After the first few points of the match went back and forth, the Falcons took control and led by as many as six before Diaz clinched the first game with a kill. Ferguson opened a 21-12 lead before Coral Reef scored three consecutive points. But Serrano’s serving helped the Falcons seal the match moments later.
Ferguson’s next challenge comes this weekend as it participates in the Smoothie King Invitational at Ransom Everglades on Friday and Saturday. The field includes several state powers including the host Raiders and Westminster Christian.
“We’re still waiting to figure out our district, but that tournament should be another good test for us,” Shanower said.
GMAC semifinals: Ferguson d. Killian, 25-10, 25-18; Coral Reef d. TERRA, 25-19, 25-23; Quarterfinals: Killian d. Hialeah, 25-25, 25-17; Ferguson d. Mourning, 25-15, 25-15; Coral Reef d. Miami Beach 25-15, 9-25, 15-7; TERRA d. Reagan 25-23, 25-13.