Cardington opened the Division III volleyball tournament in style, quickly dispatching KIPP Columbus by scores of 25-4, 25-3 and 25-3.
“For the most part, we did what we were supposed to,” said Pirate coach Ryan Treese. “These games can be hard to get up for, but the energy was there tonight. The bench was into it and the starters I subbed out were doing the bench cheers with them. That was neat to see.”
Against a team that struggled to return serves, the Pirates were able to take full advantage of that weakness. Cardington recorded a total of 43 aces over the three games, with senior Liz Long picking up 24 of that total — a number that ranks as third all-time in OHSAA history for one match.
That serving was on display from the beginning of the match. After recording a defensive point to open the scoring, the Pirates got 10 straight points from Liz Long to go in front 11-0. Cadie Long added three points, Kyleigh Bonnette scored four, Maggie Wade had one and Lexie Mellenger finished the set with the final two points.
Liz Long then staked her team to a dominating lead in the second set, serving 22 straight times and scoring the first 21 points of the game before KIPP was able to get a stop.
“I think it’s really hard to do that,” said Treese of the potential for his team to get a 25-0 win in a set. “I told them in the locker room, let’s try to go 25-0. It’s not easy to do that because there are so many factors.”
After getting that stop, KIPP was able to score a pair of points on their serve, but Cardington got the ball back and Jadine Mills was able to serve for the final three points of the set.
The Pirates got two points from Liz Long in going up by a 4-1 count in the third set, but Mills would put it away with 17 straight points. Leading 22-3, Cadie Long tallied three points to send Cardington on to a home tournament match against Centerburg on Saturday.
Treese feels his team is ready for the postseason. They were able to finish the regular season against quality, larger opposition, taking on both Mount Vernon and Delaware Hayes to lead into the playoffs.
“Last Monday, I said it’s not about wins and losses this week,” he said. “We were playing Mount Vernon and Delaware Hayes back-to-back. We came away with one of two and were close to getting the second. I think we’re peaking right now. Most teams think they’re peaking at this time, but they showed it those two nights.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS