They may not have had the fairy tale ending they would have liked Saturday, but for Mount Calvary Christian's volleyball players, the words of Vince Lombardi may sum it up best:
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
And the only word to describe the Chargers’ season is excellent.
Sure, no one was thrilled with a 3-2 (21-25, 25-27, 25-21, 25-21, 15-17) PIAA Class 1A quarterfinal loss at home to four-time District One champion Sacred Heart Academy on Saturday afternoon, but there were no heads hung low.
All the goals the Chargers set for themselves at the beginning of the 2020 season — go undefeated in the CCAC, win a district title and earn a berth in states — were attained.
And in a year where COVID-19 threatened to take the season away at any time, there were mostly smiles all around.
"I am so proud of everyone," said senior Kara Locker, who had five aces, nine kills and 14 digs in the match. "I just love this team. We all worked hard. We accomplished our goals."
The Chargers took a 3-1 lead in the first set behind the serving of Alivia Rutt and a nice tip over the net by Locker. Sacred Heart however would go on three big runs, swinging momentum its way in a 25-21 win.
It was only the third set the Chargers had lost all season.
With Alana Kelley serving with zest, Mount Calvary jumped out to a 15-8 lead in the second set. After Sacred Heart plugged away at it, the Chargers grabbed it back with some great hustle by its front-liners to make it 19-17.
Sacred Heart outside hitter Erin Corcoran, with her many un-returnable hits, both serving and on the front line, made the difference in the match, as she was able to get the ball past the Chargers' blockers with some powerful shots as they eked out a 27-25 win.
Mount Calvary bounced back to win the next two sets, the seniors leading the way as they helped the young setters adjust with every point.
"When you're down two sets, you have the absolute potential to crumble and give up the third set," Chargers' co-coach Kate Ferrari said. "But they picked it up, showed their mental toughness, and overcame that to win the third set."
In the fifth set, the Chargers showed only heart. Fittingly it was all-state pick Kami Mummau leading the way, even as Sacred Heart jumped out to a 5-1 lead.
Her kill over the heads of Sacred Heart's blockers tied the set at 7-7. On the next play, Mummau smashed a winner. It was a see-saw battle after that, with Mount Calvary taking a 15-14 lead on a nice play at the net from Kelley. Unfortunately, it was their last point of the match.
Mummau finished with 21 kills, two aces and 15 digs in the game.
"Honestly, I just wanted to play our hearts out," she said. “I'm upset we lost. It wasn't that we just gave them that set, we fought for that and I am so proud. We accomplished all three of our goals this year, and I am so proud, we all gelled so well this year."
Rutt had 17 assists to go along with 16 kills, while Ava Fouse added 24 assists, four kills, a block and 12 digs.
"It was a tough loss, but the seniors we have this year were difference-makers," Chargers' co-coach Tiann Rutt said. "And it was neat to see the way they stepped up and took leadership roles. One day one of them said, let's stop making excuses, and that made me almost cry because that was the key to our success this year."