Cardington did what they had to do in order to get past Bishop Ready in their Division III district semifinal contest hosted by Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Head coach Ryan Treese feels they’ll need to do more in order to keep advancing.

While their 25-15, 25-18, 25-17 win over the Silver Knights was sufficient to advance the team to Saturday’s district final contest against Pleasant, Treese felt his team wasn’t as crisp as it needed to be.

“It matters what’s on our side of the net and we’ve had plenty of games where we’ve been way crisper and way better,” he said. “My thing is, this is our second home. We’ve been here the last five years and, at least the last two years, have played two games. so this isn’t anything new. I don’t know if that’s an issue with complacency — this is a ‘what we’re supposed to do’ thing.”

The key for Cardington in winning against Ready was their ability to put together runs when they needed to. The Pirates held a slim 10-9 lead in the first set after two straight Silver Knight points. However, they were able to get a defensive point to go up by two and then got three points by Payton Goodman, five from Cadie Long and two from Jadine Mills in pulling away for a 10-point win.

The second set played out in much the same way. With Cardington leading by a slim 8-7 count, they were able to get points on four straight trips to the service line, with Goodman getting two, Long adding three, Mills contributing one and Audrey Brininger tallying four.

Those successful trips turned a one-point lead into a 21-14 margin and the Pirates were able to close out the set to go in front 2-0.

Three points by Long, one from Mills and four by Madison Linkous helped stake Cardington to a 13-5 lead in the third. Ready would roll off five straight points to cut that lead to three, but the Pirates would be able to maintain a lead in closing out the match.

Treese was pleased with his team’s ability to get runs when they need them, but cautioned that doing so might not be as easy in higher-stakes matches.

“I’m honestly not worried about a close match or being down,” he said. “I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about what’s going to happen when we take that next step when we get to regionals. I don’t know if we’re gong to be able to dig out of that hole. We do find a way to clean it up and find a way to get the ball to Audrey. We’re not clean, but if we get the ball to #11, it’s probably going to get put away.”

Before his team can worry about regionals, though, they’ll need to get past the Spartans, who topped Northmor 3-2 in the night’s other district semifinal contest. Treese noted that Pleasant showed a lot in that win and that his team will need to match their energy.

“Pleasant’s going to play with all sorts of energy,” he said. “They upset the #3 seed (Johnstown), so they think they belong. Tonight, they went to five and it looked like they beat the team in three. They won the first two sets, lose two and that fifth set looked like they won in three because they had that energy. We’re not an energetic team all the time, as you can tell. Having seven seniors and one junior that play, it’s a little bit ‘been there, done that’ type of thing.”

Madison Linkous goes up for a kill attempt in Cardington’s three-set win over Biship RTeady in the district semifinals. Linkous goes up for a kill attempt in Cardington’s three-set win over Biship RTeady in the district semifinals. 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