The Cedarville volleyball team was back in action Tuesday night in the Callan Athletic Center as Bellarmine University defeated them in straight sets, 25-20, 25-17, 28-26. The Lady Jackets returned home after going 1-3 in a four match invitational last weekend in California, Pennsylvania. The Bellarmine Knights entered the evening with a record of 3-2.
The Jackets rode a small lead through the beginning of the first set before the visiting Knights tied the set at 13. After being tied again at 18, the Knights gained the late momentum to win the set 25-20.
Cedarville made several unforced errors to begin the second set and quickly found themselves behind by a margin of 15-9. As a team, the Jackets had nine hitting errors in the second set compared to seven total kills. They trailed by as many as seven on multiple occasions throughout the set, eventually losing by eight at 25-17, having never led in the second set.
The Jackets weren’t outmatched in talent by the opposing Knights, but the errors and sloppy play on their own side of the net placed them in a two-set deficit heading into the intermission.
“We’re in a little bit of a rut,” Coach Walters said after the match. “We’re just making a lot of errors, a lot of which are unforced.”
The Jackets brought a renewed enthusiasm to the third set, taking an early edge before Bellarmine came back to tie the set at 14. With the game tied at 21, senior Amanda Bell hit a back row kill, then Alyssa Barkley and Rachel Krikke came together for a major block to give the Jackets a 23-21 lead. The Knights responded with a kill and a block of their own to tie the set yet again at 23.
Tied at 23, Krikke came through with a powerful kill, but the Knights responded with two powerful kills of their own to give them their first match point at 25-24. The visiting Knights won the set and the match at 28-26. The highly contested set saw a total of 15 ties and 7 lead changes.
“We made the change to put Abby Shelton on the front line because she usually provides a spark of energy for us,” Coach Walters said. “She hit really well and we got some energy going but then, again, just some errors down the stretch didn’t work out for us.”
Krikke, Bell, Krissy Pratt and Hannah Wagner all had 7 kills for the Jackets. The Jackets’ team hitting percentage for the evening was a disappointing 0.138, down significantly compared to the season average of 0.207.
With the loss, the Lady Jackets move to a mark of 4-6 on the season and 1-1 at home. Cedarville returns to home action at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18, against Northern Michigan, and again at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, hosting Shawnee State in the Callan Athletic Center.
Paul McMichael is a senior preseminary Bible major and a sports reporter for Cedars.