SOUTHWEST GLENDALE — In between the second and third games of their Horizon League match against Alverno on Tuesday afternoon, the members of the Holy Family volleyball team didn't show any signs of distress.
After losing a pair of close games, the Gaels listened carefully to Coach Robert Bringas' instructions on how they might be able to mount a comeback and seize control of first place.
They didn't miss a beat the remainder of the way.
Holy Family received 50 digs from Alicia Marquez and Ashlee Sandoval added 13 kills and 21 digs to help Holy Family net a 27-29, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-12 win at Pacific Park Community Center.
"Basically, there's one goal and that's to win the league championship," Bringas said. "This was our opportunity to be able to come back and take advantage of going after that goal.
"Our serving was aggressive and our people started clicking [after the second game]. We began pushing the play."
Holy Family (9-5, 5-0 in league) swept the two-match season series against defending-league champion Alverno (7-9, 4-2). In the first meeting Sept. 30 at Foothill Community Church in Pasadena, Holy Family posted a 25-19, 25-23, 25-20 victory. The victory keeps the Gaels alone in first place and on track for the league crown.
Holy Family snapped Alverno's four-match winning streak by dictating the flow of the final three games. The Gaels, who qualified for the playoffs last season, saw Marquez help set the tempo with a quality defensive performance.
Marquez, a junior libero, said she sensed the Gaels could topple Alverno.
"I thought after we won the third game, that we would get it," Marquez said. "We just knew that we had to keep it going, and that's our best win of the season."
In the third game, Holy Family took an 8-3 lead on an ace by Marquez. The Gaels extended the advantage to 23-18 on a kill by Sandoval, an outside hitter, before closing it out on an ace from Sanchez.
The fourth game saw the Gaels take an 11-5 lead on an ace by middle blocker Valerie Dominguez. Alverno closed to within 14-13 on an ace from Asia Chapa, but Holy Family regained its six-point cushion at 21-15 on a kill by Sandoval. A Sandoval kill knotted the match at two games apiece and gave the Gaels additional momentum.
After the Jaguars took a 7-6 lead in the final game on a kill by Jessica Hamilton, the Gaels stormed back and never trailed again. Kills by Dominguez and Sandoval gave the Gaels an 8-7 lead and a kill by Dominguez capped the comeback.
"After the third game, a lot of our players put their angst out of the way," said Bringas, who received seven kills and seven digs from Dominguez and 33 assists and 13 digs from setter Rebecca Sanchez. "We were able to win that third game in good fashion and that fueled us for the rest of the match.
"We still need to finish the season up. Now, everybody will be gunning for us and we still have to be able to maintain our focus."
The Gaels will next compete at 5:30 p.m. Friday against L.A. Sacred Heart of Jesus at Lincoln Park.