After the Louisville High girls’ volleyball team beat Chaminade, 5-15, 15-3, 15-8, 15-9, Thursday night in a San Fernando Valley League match, friends of Coach Barbara Gomperz approached her near midcourt to offer congratulations.
“It’s about time,” they said. “We were starting to get worried. It looked like you would never get a victory.”
Gomperz smiled at each comment and assured her friends that the Royals were not concerned about the outcome of their previous matches.
“We try not to dwell on the past, we just go on,” she said.
After 10 minutes of back-patting, Gomperz finally had a moment to herself. She looked around the Chaminade gym and muttered under her breath: “We needed that. That was a good win.”
Indeed it was. Louisville, the two-time defending league champion, entered the season favored to win its third title. But the Royals, with 5 returning starters, staggered through an 0-6 preseason.
True, 5 of the 6 teams Louisville played have been ranked in the Southern Section 3-A or 4-A divisions. But when the Royals lost their league opener to Notre Dame on Tuesday to drop their 7th in a row, the epitaph was being written for the team that was 19-1 in its past 2 league seasons.
“You just had to put it all in perspective,” Gomperz said. “All the teams we played were high-rated teams. That was a good warm-up for this.”
“This” almost turned into another loss. The Eagles (4-4, 1-1 in league play) stormed through the first game in less than 15 minutes and appeared as though their most pressing problem was getting home early enough .
But Louisville setter Lisa Funari and outside hitter Marybeth Giordano sparked the Royals (1-7, 1-1) to a similar romp in the second game.
“I was a little worried after the first game,” said Giordano, a 5-foot, 8-inch all-league hitter. “But I said to the team, ‘Hey, we’re not going to lose this match. That one was just a warm-up game.’ ”
Louisville handled the rest of the match as though it was a warm-up. The Royals led, 9-3, in the third game and scored 7 of the fourth game’s final 8 points to win the match with relative ease.
Relative, that is, to the first game and Louisville’s first 7 matches.
“We just went in thinking that we had to do the best we could,” Funari said. “We weren’t intimidated. It just took time for things to click, and tonight was it.”
Erica Lusk led Louisville with 8 kills and Torie Sumner, a 6-1 sophomore, had 5 blocks for the Royals, who were playing without all-league outside hitter Mary Hudson. Hudson broke her right ankle during practice a week ago.