Ashley Grubler grabbed the ball to serve, took a deep breath and smacked it long. It was a crucial error — the match was tied at 23 in the second set — against rival Francis Lewis.
And Cardozo’s star outside hitter couldn’t do anything but laugh.
“Before I even served, I turned to [the bench] and said, ‘Watch me be clutch right now,’” Grubler said. “I go to serve and swear I didn’t put any power on it and it just went out. I was like, ‘I knew it!’ All of them started laughing and they turned to me and said, ‘Wow, you’re so clutch.’ I don’t normally do something like that.”
Sarcastically calling each other clutch has been an inside joke at Judges practices recently. And while the juncture of the match was significant, the laughs kept Cardozo loose. Grubler ended up having the winning kill in a 25-20, 28-26 victory over Francis Lewis in PSAL Queens A6 girls’ volleyball Oct. 17 in Fresh Meadows.
Normally, Coach Danny Scarola wouldn’t have been pleased with his best player laughing at a moment like that. But it’s better than her getting down on herself, which she is sometimes guilty of.
“I feel like a lot of pressure was taken off, so instead of making an error, we shook it off and tried to win the next point,” Cardozo libero Amy Sung said.
Monday could have been a turning point in the defending PSAL champion’s season. Cardozo (7-0) didn’t look terribly impressive against Lewis (4-3), which was missing setter Jessica Chung (ankle) and middle Naya Harris (back). But the way the Judges won was significant after a confidence-shattering loss to Stuyvesant at the Cardozo Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament Saturday.
“I wasn’t sure what I was gonna get after Saturday,” Scarola said. “I know they were very emotional Saturday after losing.”
The coach said he knew things were going to be OK when he spoke to a few players individually and saw some smiles. Scarola didn’t expect to see those smiles after trailing 24-23 in the second set, but he was fine with the reaction.
“That really settled everybody and we were able to rotate into that spot with one of the best rotations we have,” Scarola said.
Grubler finished with 19 kills, Adriana Braciak had five kills and five aces and Jessica Lou had 27 assists. Sung added 10 digs to help give Cardozo its second straight win over Lewis after not having beaten the Patriots for five years.
Ragina Anthony had eight kills and 14 digs, Lisa Camarago had seven kills and Sandra Arcabascio had 14 digs. Stacy Paickattu had 13 assists, doing a fine job filling in for Chung. After not winning a match over the weekend at the prestigious Horseheads tournament upstate, Coach Arnie Rosenbaum was pleased with the character his team showed despite being down two starters.
“I thought it was awesome,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
Lewis actually had a chance to win the second set and then the third would have been a toss-up. But Grubler and Co. settled down. All it took was a clutch little laugh.
“If I would have gotten mad, we probably wouldn’t have come through,” Grubler said. “We just kept going.”
©2011 Community News Group
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