by Tim Miller
Energy was key in the Cedarville Lady Jackets’ home opening win over the Lake Erie College Storm on Friday night. A record 1,255 fans packed into the Callan Athletic Center to watch Cedarville beat the Storm in three sets.
The Lady Jackets took the game in demanding fashion, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-17. Cedarville head coach Doug Walters said it was good to be home and that the crowd helped propel the Lady Jackets to a win.
“To come home to the friendly confines of Callan in front of a record-breaking crowd and being here in front of our student body is just fantastic,” Walters said.
Junior outside hitter Taylor Wilkerson, who tallied 11 kills, echoed her coach’s enthusiasm about playing at home.
“It always is awesome. The crowd always shows up and I just love playing here,” Wilkerson said.
Senior outside hitter Krissy Pratt was also strong, contributing 11 kills and four blocks to the Lady Jackets. Senior middle hitter Gabby Olson was the only other Lady Jacket to reach double digits in points with 11.5, totaling eight kills and one service ace.
The first set was tight to start and seemed to foreshadow and back-and-forth affair. The first time a lead reached four points was when Gabby Olson buried a ball for a kill, giving the Lady Jackets an early 11-7 lead.
Cedarville was able to open up the first set from there, but only slightly. The Lady Jackets jumped out to a 17-10 run, but Lake Erie quickly closed the gap to 18-14 late in the first set.
The Lady Jackets went on a run to distance themselves from the Storm, and won the first set, 25-19.
Cedarville jumped out to a dominating lead in the second set. After finding themselves down 11-4 early, Lake Erie called a timeout. The timeout failed to do the Storm any favors, as Cedarville sprinted to a 17-9 lead.
A winding and tiring set ended in a Cedarville point late in the second set giving the Lady Jackets a 23-16 lead. Multiple athletic plays from the Lady Jackets gave the fans added energy which helped will Cedarville to a second set win.
Lake Erie continued to fight in the third set, and never allowed the Lady Jackets to have a clear advantage. The game wasn’t separated by five points until a service ace from freshman setter Lindsey Bray which provided Cedarville with a 20-15 lead.
Cedarville managed to keep its lead to sweep the Storm. Junior outside hitter Faith Ferris ended the match with a kill which sparked an eruption in the Callan Athletic Center.
The Lady Jackets’ front line showed out, providing 45 kills, 11 total blocks, 22 block assists and a .384 hitting percentage. Coach Walters said he’d been waiting for his team’s strongest line to break out this season, and tonight they put it all together.
“Today everyone broke out at the same time,” Walters said. “We’ve got nice size up there and as long as we’re getting set up right we are able to set our back row up.”
The Lady Jackets will be back in Callan again tomorrow to host the Ursuline Arrows at 1 p.m. The Arrows dropped their last match, losing to Lake Erie in three sets.
Tim Miller is a sophomore marketing major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, sipping Dunkin Donuts coffee and striving to be the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.