Competing in their third match in as many days, the visiting Cardington Pirates showed no signs of fatigue on Thursday in traveling to Mount Gilead and departing with a 25-10, 25-6, 25-17 win over the Indians.
“Getting three 3-0 wins in a row is pretty tough to do,” said Pirate head coach Ryan Treese. “Especially with the third one being right after two of the biggest matches of our careers. I knew it’d be lazy at times because of the effort used the last two days.”
Strong serving paved the way for Cardington, as they were able to go on several long runs in both of the first two sets.
Holding a 2-1 lead in the first set, the Pirates got three straight points from Emalee Artz, five from Olivia Holt and 10 from Riley Burchett in jumping out to as much as a 22-3 margin.
While Mount Gilead attempted to battle back, getting one point each from Aspen Hatfield and Kortney James and two from Sicily Carrick, that deficit would be too much to overcome.
After that 25-10 win in the opening set, Cardington did much of the same in the second. Two points from Artz, 12 straight from Cadie Long and four from Burchett gave the Pirates a 21-3 advantage and helped send them to a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third game would be a lot tougher for Cardington. After two points from Maggie Wade and one from Maddie Linkous led them to an early 4-1 lead, a defensive point and two scores from Riley McCoy tied things up at 4-4. The teams would play evenly until the Pirates were able to get three points from Artz and two more by Wade to hold a 14-9 lead.
The Indians would have another run in them, though. After a defensive score, Grace Mowery served for five points and Mount Gilead held a 15-14 lead. Unfortunately for the home team, Cardington immediately fired back. After scoring on defense, they would get five points in a row from Linkous to regain the lead at 20-15 and would not look back. Holding a 21-17 advantage, the Pirates got four quick points by Holt to finish the contest.
Mount Gilead coach Megan Oder liked her team’s third-set performance.
“That was exciting for us to come out and play our best volleyball,” she said. “We’re trying to get started quickly instead of taking a couple sets to warm up.”
Now, with the regular season coming to its end, both coaches are looking to get geared up for their final games and the postseason.
“We play East Knox a week from Saturday,” said Oder. “We’re looking to end the season on a high note, get a good week of practice in and get some momentum going into the tournament.”
“We are playing our best volleyball right now,” noted Treese. “That’s a cliche, but if you look at who we played our last three games, they’re the best teams we’ve faced with Fredericktown twice and Hiland, who’s ranked 16th in the state.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS