Gilbert knew the obstacles that Bishop England posed in the Class 2A state championship on Saturday.
The Indians knew because it was the Bishops that they lost to in last year's state championship. It was the Bishops aiming for a 10th consecutive title, and 20th overall.
Gilbert's rallying cry was to close the gap between No. 1 and No. 2. But that might not have happened in the Bishops' 25-4, 25-12, 25-16 victory at White Knoll High.
"I'm not ashamed of anything from my team," Gilbert coach Jackie Shealy said. "We deserved to be here. This group said from the beginning of the season that they would give nothing less than their best and they did. They need to walk out of here holding their heads high. To be in the state championship game two years in a row is remarkable for us."
The Bishops (22-1) were on a different level from the second point on - they lost the first one, then roared out to a 12-1 lead.
Bishop England used its height to tee off against the smaller Indians' front line. Mary Crawford James had 19 kills, Katie Cummings had 33 assists and Rebecca Kerrison had 24 digs.
"It's a good feeling coming into a state championship knowing the firepower we have," Bishop England coach Cindy Baggott said.
Gilbert (24-2) was on the defensive from the beginning, and never had a chance to get into their passing game to set up Sarah Eargle and Whitney Strother. Eargle and Strother combined for nine kills as the the Indians had 22 passing errors.
"We never had a good opportunity to start our offense," Shealy said. "We didn't set up our passing and that took us out of our offense."
And with the match closer for Gilbert fans, Baggott felt getting the early lead took some of the Indians' fire away.
"For a lack of better words, we played flawless in that first game," Baggott said. "We were passing, the setting was there and that gave our frontline a chance to go up and get a big swing on it."
Coming into the championship, Bishop England had not allowed more than 12 points in a set in the postseason. It was little solace to the Indians they scored 12 and 16 the final two sets.
""We didn't play our best today and that's what it's going to take to beat a team as talented as Bishop England," Shealy said. "If you look at the scores from Bishop England and you can see how dominating they are. We're disappointed we didn't have a little better showing but these girls battled to the end."