The task seemed doubly tough for seventh-ranked Overlea last night. The host Falcons not only were faced with stopping unbeaten Catholic -- a squad that had won 42 of its 50 games -- but doing so without their best hitter.
With a 15-4, 15-17, 15-13, 15-4 win over the 14th-ranked Cubs, however, coach Charlene Diamond's squad showed that it will take much more than the loss of a player to slow it down.
"I think I always knew deep down that they could fill the void if somebody wasn't here," said Diamond, who was missing senior captain Karen Haak and her team-leading 2.6 kills a game.
But stepping up were Andrea Chandler and Nicole Zinkhan. Chandler led the team with 15 kills and added six aces. Zinkhan had seven aces and numerous big hits.
"This showed that we can pull together as a team when other people are out," said Chandler. "It gave other players the chance to show our coach that they can play."
After winning the first game with ease, the Falcons (10-2) struggled in Game 2, falling behind, 8-4, rallying for a late tie, then losing, 17-15.
Michelle Chilcote -- a two-time first-team Catholic League selection -- paced the Cubs (14-1) with hard serves and a number of clutch hits, but that's where their luck would end.
Overlea scored 11 of the first 14 points in Game 3, watching Catholic come back to tie before pulling out a two-point win that seemed to deflate the Cubs.
Although Haak appeared midway through the match, she wasn't needed as the Falcons finished with an easy win in Game 4.
For Catholic coach Leo Matanguihan, the match was to be an indicator of where his team stood heading into tomorrow's Catholic League Tournament at Mercy.
The result seemed anything but indicative of how the Cubs had played throughout the season.
"I think our passing really wasn't there," said Matanguihan. "Our hitting was hurried, but that was the result of their serving. I wanted to play a team that was ranked higher than us to get a gauge about how good we were."