The Cedarville volleyball team defeated Shawnee State in a tightly contested match, beating the Bears in five sets on Saturday afternoon. The Jackets won two of three on this week’s home stand. Shawnee State entered the afternoon with a record of 9-5. The Jackets broke their losing skid Thursday night and were hoping to build momentum heading into conference play.
After Cedarville easily won the first set, 25-19, they soared in front in the second set. But after they opened to a 17-11 lead, the visiting Bears scored six straight points to tie the set at 17. The set ended on 15-5 Bears run, tying the match at one set a piece heading into the intermission.
The Jackets responded with vengeance in the third set by jumping out to a 10-2 lead. The Bears battled valiantly, but the Jackets held the lead and won the set 25-21.
“Shawnee is an outstanding defensive team and we told them that ahead of the game,” Coach Walters said. “They’re sort of scrappy. They taught us patience on offense, and I think we did a better job of that especially in the fourth and fifth set.”
The resurgent Bears gained the early momentum in the fourth set by taking a 9-3 lead. The Jackets recovered to tie the set at 18. After Cedarville took a 23-21 lead, Shawnee State scored four straight points to send the match to a decisive fifth set.
The highly contested fifth set saw seven ties and five lead changes, but the Jackets prevailed 15-12 to win the match.
“That was our second five set match of the year, and it was nice to see them push through at the end,” Walters said.
Sophomore Abby Shelton led the Lady Jackets with 17 kills, and senior Hannah Wagner added 12. Senior Maddie Ledbetter and sophomore Kristin Cardwell led the team in assists, tallying 32 and 24, respectively.
Cedarville moves to 6-6 with the win. They begin conference play with a road trip to West Virginia, where they will play two games in two days.
“We were picked to finish first in the conference by the coaches, so the target is on our backs,” Walters said. “The first part of the season we play the role of the underdog, but when we get to conference, we’re the target. We have to change our mindset a little bit because now everyone’s gunning for us.”
The defending G-MAC champions will begin the road trip Friday night at Alderson Broaddus.
“I’m really excited to play Alderson Broaddus. Last year they became big rivals because of some of the things their fans were yelling at us,” Shelton said. “I think conference play is fun and I think we have some really good momentum going into it.”
“Alderson Broaddus is probably our biggest rival in the conference. When we play at their place it is an interesting environment to play in,” Walters said. “I think we’ll be prepared, but it’s not gonna be easy.”
Paul McMichael is a senior preseminary Bible major and a sports reporter for Cedars.