“Survive and advance” was the motto for the Cardington volleyball team after they got past a game North Union squad in the first round of the Division III tournament on Tuesday.

While the team’s 25-22, 25-21, 25-11 home win over the Wildcats didn’t include the effort or execution Pirate coach Ryan Treese would have liked to see, it was enough to allow them to move on in the tournament.

“Survive and advance,” said the coach. “That’s the thing we did tonight. We were very lazy at times, but it’s always nice to get a postseason win in front of the home crowd. We did not play our volleyball tonight. We weren’t into it.”

The team got off to a good start in the first set, using two points from Audrey Brininger and five from Maggie Wade to hold a 13-4 lead. Hope Hall mustered three for North Union, but the Pirates responded with two from Emalee Artz to still lead 16-8.

That lead wouldn’t be safe, though. Cardington would then struggle to string together points, as the Wildcats gradually chipped away at their deficit — tying things up at 21-21 after getting three in a row from Candace Holloway.

The Pirates would be able to regroup and finish the set, though. A defensive point followed by one from Wade gave them a two-point lead. Then, with a 24-22 lead, they got a score from Artz to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

“We just weren’t into it,” said Treese. “Mentally, we weren’t into the game. I think it affected everything. We started off the first set up big and then barely won the first set.”

The second set wasn’t any easier. Holloway scored three early points to stake her team to a 4-0 lead and the Wildcats maintained an advantage for most of the set. The Pirates briefly had a 9-8 lead, but North Union regained control and either led or was tied with Cardington until three points by Artz turned a 20-19 deficit into a two-point lead.

After giving up a defensive point, the Pirates then regained possession and got a pair of scores from Cadie Long to end that North Union threat.

Two points by Zoe Wedding gave North Union a 2-0 lead in the third set, but the Pirates would immediately bounce back. A defensive point and seven straight from Long staked the team to an 8-3 lead and they would not look back. One from Brininger, two by Jadine Mills, four from Riley Burchett, two from Wade and one from Madison Linkous caused the team’s lead to expand to 23-9 in a set they won easily.

“We talk about tempo all the time and the third set was our tempo,” said Treese. “In the tournament, you can’t play down to the level of your opponent.”

Cardington hitter Madison Linkous knocks the ball over the net in her team’s 3-0 win at home against North Union in the first round of the Division III tournament.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2021/10/web1_madisonlinkous.jpgCardington hitter Madison Linkous knocks the ball over the net in her team’s 3-0 win at home against North Union in the first round of the Division III tournament. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

By Rob Hamilton

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Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS