GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The Cedar Creek High School girls volleyball team needed to make history just to get to the Cape-Atlantic League Tournament final at Stockton University on Saturday.

Once the Pirates checked that box by beating Absegami for the first time ever in the semifinals, they beat Pleasantville 2-0 to repeat at CAL champions.

“It feels awesome,” Pirates coach Brian Beck said after celebrating with his team. “I knew that this year was going to be special with the seniors that we have, and I knew that we had a chance to repeat. It was our goal to repeat and take the trophy back home.”

Cedar Creek won the championship match 25-18, 25-22. Among the Pirates’ trio of seniors was hitter Nina Casselberry, who had timely back-to-back kills in the second set to take back momentum as the Greyhounds began mounting a comeback.

It’s a memory she’ll always treasure.

“I had a goal from freshman year to do something really big my senior season,” Casselberry said, “and being a captain and just being a part of this season is an indescribable feeling, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Casselberry, senior Angelina Cox and junior Kylie Ackerman led the way for the Pirates throughout the one-day tournament.

The team faced two kinds of adversity Saturday: playing from behind against Absegami and weathering the storm of a comeback against Pleasantville.

In the semifinal, the Braves took the first set, and the Pirates edged them to tie the match at 1-all in the second set. They won the third 15-6.

After winning the first set of the final behind a big run, Cedar Creek continued to roll and went up 13-5 early in the second. The Greyhounds went on their own big run to cut the deficit to one and make the score 23-22. An off-target serve and miscommunication by Pleasantville gave the Pirates their final two points to secure the win.

“Sometimes (the other teams) go on a run and get a bunch of points, but it only takes one good pass, one good set and Nina’s going to put it away,” Beck said of his team’s ability to handle different situations. “And then we have really good servers.

“The whole day, I don’t think we missed more than four serves.”

With Saturday’s wins, the Pirates improved to 15-5 and remained atop the CAL American Division. They return to action at Middle Township on Monday.

The Greyhounds, now 15-4, beat ACIT 2-1 in a seminal match in which every point was hard-fought. The scores were 26-24, 25-27, 15-12.

The team was led by seniors Rosa Gil-Hernandez and Shania Watkins and junior Yancely Hernandez.

Greyhounds coach Jim Bucko said he was proud of their effort in both matches.

“I’ve always had confidence in my team,” Bucko said. “Coming into the season, I knew we were going to be one of the top teams. Coming into this tournament, I knew we had a shot to win.

“My girls are tough. They’re committed, and they’re ballers.”

Pleasantville will travel to Absegami on Monday for a match that will determine the CAL National Division champion.

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