Cardington’s volleyball team wasn’t able to build off a first set win against visiting Fredericktown in the first round of the Division III tournament on Tuesday, falling by scores of 25-23, 22-25, 23-25 and 14-25.
For the first three sets, the match went as expected for two teams that finished with similar records and split their two regular-season match-ups, with neither squad able to go on lengthy runs or consistently hold the momentum.
The Pirates briefly took a 13-9 advantage in the first game after getting four straight points from Marissa Hall, but Fredericktown came back to lead by a 20-18 margin. However, the Pirates got a defensive stop and two points from Paige Clinger to take a one-point lead. Then, with the score tied at 23 after another defensive point by Cardington, they got two serves for scores by Rylie Partlow to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five contest.
The Pirates took an early 3-2 lead in the second thanks to points from Maci Morgan and Kyleigh Bonnette, but Fredericktown bounced back to take the lead and gradually pull away to lead by as much as a 20-13 margin.
With the score 22-15, Cardington tried to get back into the contest. Points by Partlow and Morgan got them within a 24-20 margin and two from Bonnette closed the gap to two points, but a defensive stop by the Freddies got them to 25 and tied the match at one game each.
The teams’ defenses controlled the early stages of the third game. However, trailing 12-11 with only two offensive points to their name, Cardington got three by Hannah Wickline and two from Clinger to surge in front by a 17-13 margin.
Unfortunately, that lead would not last for long. A defensive point followed by four straight on offense gave the Freddies a slim lead. The teams battled evenly until the end of the set, when a pair of points gave Fredericktown a 23-21 lead. A defensive stop and a point by Bonnette tied things up, but Fredericktown got their own stop and then added an offensive point to take a 2-1 lead.
Fredericktown would then dominate the early stages of the fourth set, going on offensive runs of three, seven and five points to lead by as much as a 19-4 margin. A defensive stop and five points from Hall narrowed the gap to a 19-10 margin, but Cardington would not be able to recover, as their season came to an end.
After the match, head coach Amanda Allen had little to say, noting that her team simply struggled to put away foes in close contests and now will have to make up for the loss of five seniors next year.
“It’s been the same thing all season long,” she said. “Next year will be a building year.”