By Brandon Judeh
Canfield seniors Sabrina Mangapora and Nicole Luklan have dreamed of a chance to play in the state volleyball tournament since they first started volleyball.
Unfortunately that dream fell just short as the Cardinals (23-4) lost to Cleveland Heights Beaumont 3-0 Saturday in the Division II regional finals at Stow-Munroe Falls High School.
“We came into tonight knowing it was anyone’s game,” said Luklan. “They are a great team. We are a scrappy, good team, and we gave it our all.”
“They came out and jumped on us, they are a well coached and disciplined team and it’s hard to beat a team like that,” added Mangapora.
Beaumont (19-7) used big rallies to put away the Cardinals in all three matches.
“When you get to this level all the teams are tough, Beaumont played great defense and they have a lot of great players,” said Canfield head coach and recent YMCA Hall of Fame inductee John Tokash.
The tempo was set in the middle of the first match when the score was knotted at seven.
Beaumont went on an 18-4 run to put away the Cardinals 25-11.
In the second match Beaumont made a 9-1 run to put away the Cards 25-16. The third match was much like the second as the Blue Streaks ended the game on another 9-1 rally to win 25-11 and send them to Dayton.
“In the beginning of the season, had you told someone that we were going to make it to the regional finals, they would have thought you were crazy,” said Mangapora. “That in itself is a huge accomplishment and we kept getting better with every game. We can’t hang our heads after this loss, not after how far we have come this season.”
As the Cardinals walked off the court, all of them had big smiles on their faces as they embraced family and friends.
“Our goal was to win a district championship and we did and to make it to the regional finals was amazing,” added Mangapora. “We are blessed to be here. I’m going to miss playing with these girls, though. They’re my buddies.”
“I’m going to miss my teammates a lot, but I can’t imagine not playing volleyball because it’s my favorite sport, so I hope to be playing at the next level,” said Luklan.
Leading the way for the Cardinals was Mangapora with six digs and eight kills. She finished with more than 1,200 kills for her career.
Luklan chipped in with seven digs and seven service points, while sophomore Rachel Rafoth had 15 digs.