Cardington got out to good starts against Highland in two of the three sets of their Tuesday night volleyball match against the visiting Scots, but would be unable to match extended scoring runs by their guests in falling by scores of 25-19, 25-13, 25-15.
In the first game, the Pirates got one point each from Paige Clinger, Kyleigh Bonnette and Liz Long before Gabby Snodgrass added three scores to put her team up 11-5. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the Highland defense picked things up after that, not giving up another offensive point in the game.
Meanwhile, points by Kelsee Bargnesi, Makenna Belcher and Kacie O’Leary allowed the Scots to pull within a 13-11 margin. Then, trailing 15-13, Highland got six unanswered points by Raina Terry to take a lead they would not surrender, as they pulled away to win 25-19.
“We just had to get out in the first set like the other night with Fredericktown,” said Scot head coach Rob Terrill. “We had to see how the game went. We’re a young team and just have to feel it out a bit.”
Highland carried the momentum from that comeback into the second game, getting four early points from Bridget Oder and three more from Ashlynn Belcher in taking a 13-5 lead.
“We’ve been talking about how it’s been a roller coaster and it showed against the best team we’ve played and will play,” said Cardington coach Ryan Treese of the match with Highland. Terrill felt that a big part of the night’s challenge was getting around Cardington’s size at the net.
“Cardington is a big team,” he said. “Part of the challenge was figuring out how to get around that. In that second set, they only had three errors and two were blocks by us, so they were doing a good job keeping the ball in play. We had 19 kills in the second set.”
The Pirates would not be able to get closer than seven points over the rest of the game, which gave Highland a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five match. However, they were able to jump in front in the third set.
In a defensive-minded game, they were able to score the only two offensive points over an extended period of time, as both Hannah Wickline and Bonnette tallied points to help Cardington lead by a 10-7 margin.
After getting a defensive point to get within two points, the Scots were able to quickly pull away, though, as Oder served for 13 straight points, turning that two-point deficit into a 21-10 lead.
“We pride ourself as a serving team and she did a nice job there to finish it off,” said Terrill. “I told her I’ve been waiting four years for her to take over that part of the game — she’s been a four-year starter — and she did an excellent job.”
While Cardington got points from Wickline and Emalee Artz down the stretch, they wouldn’t be able to cut into the Highland lead, as the Scots remained perfect in league play. Treese noted that his team showed they could make runs against a powerful team, saying that was a positive they could take from the match.
“To be able to put runs together against a team like that, the girls have to take the positives and say we put up runs against one of the best teams in the state,” he said.
Cardington got nine kills from Clinger and eight kills and two blocks from Wickline in the contest. Clinger also had 18 kills, while Maci Morgan added two more. Both Makenna Belcher and Terry had 11 kills in the match, while Gena West added seven and both Abby Eusey and Kendall Stover finished with five. Oder tallied nine aces serving the ball.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS