On a day dedicated to supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Cedarville volleyball team took another step towards the regular season G-MAC championship with a comeback win over Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon, 21-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-9.
The Jackets led for the majority of the first set, but a run of unforced errors allowed the Panthers to win the set 25-21.
The Jackets regrouped at the beginning of the second set by opening with a 7-1 lead. The Panthers came back and tied the set at 15 before taking the lead. They maintained that lead to win the second set 25-22.
“The problem in those first two sets was we were letting them dictate our play, which has happened to us before,” head coach Doug Walters said. “We go away from what is working and we try to do things that we don’t have to do. We just had to gently remind them during the intermission to take it down a notch and just play clean. We don’t have to do a bunch of crazy, fancy stuff. We just have to execute cleanly on what we do well. The last three sets they did a much better job.”
The third set was pivotal for deciding the G-MAC regular season champions. Since Cedarville defeated Kentucky Wesleyan in three sets on Oct. 3, the Jackets needed to win at least one set in order to have the tiebreaker. The set had 14 ties and six lead changes, but the Jackets prevailed 25-23.
“The girls didn’t know that (we had to win), but the coaches knew that we needed to win at least one set,” Walters said. “So, when that (set) was getting close at the end I was like, oh, I do not want to go to Owensboro, Kentucky for the conference tournament.”
The Jackets maintained a marginal lead throughout the fourth set, winning it by a score of 25-20. Cedarville carried the building momentum and dominated the deciding fifth set 15-9. Cedarville hadn’t come back from a 2-0 deficit since August 31, 2012.
The Jackets are two wins away from winning the regular season conference championship and the right to host the conference tournament November 13-15. They host Central State Wednesday night and travel to face Ursuline on Friday.
“If Ursuline wins all three (of their remaining G-MAC matches), then they would be the hosts,” Walters said. “But we can just assure it by winning on Friday. They’re going to be tough, though.”
Not only was the afternoon a big win for the Jackets, but the game was dedicated to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
“Coach Walters reached out to me,” said Cris Peterson, spokeswoman for the JDRF. “There’s a student who’s going to be on the team next year who’s a Type 1 diabetic, so they wanted to start learning more about the disease, and learn ways that they can support.”
Every person in attendance was charged $1 for admittance into the game, and in return they were given a coupon for a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich.
“The money raised helps our organization by funding the latest research,” Peterson said. “There’s lots of cutting edge technology. There’s the artificial pancreas. There’s beta cell encapsulation. Those are two treatments that are going to give people a much better quality of life, and, hopefully, eventually give them a cure.”
Jon Faulkner, the father of a son with Type 1 diabetes, voiced his support for the foundation.
“JDRF is one of the most efficiently run non-profit organizations,” he said. “Eighty percent of the money they raise actually goes to research.”
“Every volleyball team in the country does Breast Cancer Awareness as well as every NFL team in October, so we don’t we try highlighting a different charity,” Walters said. “So we chose the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The girls were into it, and I think it was a success.”
Paul McMichael is a senior preseminary Bible major and a sports reporter for Cedars.