Ferguson has developed a knack for playing its best volleyball toward the end of the season.
The Falcons put together another clutch performance Tuesday, securing their second consecutive GMAC girls’ volleyball championship, and third overall.
Ferguson (20-4), a state semifinalist in Class 8A last season, defeated district rival Southwest 25-20, 25-22 in the championship round to improve its season-series record against the Eagles to 2-1.
“When you play against a team like Southwest, you step up and our girls did,” Ferguson coach Greg Shanower said.
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Sophomore Michelle Cuervo and junior Gabriela Beverly each had eight kills overall to lead Ferguson. Senior Alexandra Reczek had a stellar defensive performance with 20 digs, and junior Natalie Hoyos had 20 assists.
Senior Dominique Barnes had the match-winning kill as she capped Ferguson’s comeback in the second game after falling behind early.
“When we fell behind, I called a timeout and told them to just catch their breath and play it one point at a time,” Shanower said. “They did and started playing smarter volleyball.”
Southwest survived a close three-game win against Coral Reef in the semifinal round and is likely to play Lourdes in a District 15-8A semifinal elimination game next week. Ferguson is the top seed in the district.
“It’s really been a team effort and on any given night, we’ve had different people step up,” Shanower said. “If Michelle has a bad night, [senior outside hitter] Kourtney Lesperance steps in for her. Beverly really has played well and when she does it opens up the outsides for us. Everyone stepped up today and that was key for us.”
Ferguson lost four starters from last year’s state semifinalist squad either to transfers or graduation.
But after a somewhat slow start, the Falcons have picked up momentum in recent weeks much as it did in the latter half of last season.
“This is something we’ve built over time,” Shanower said. “It wasn’t easy but we have a great group of kids and parents that have supported each other to work to this point.”