The Cedarville volleyball team took another step towards the regular season G-MAC title with a win Friday night over Trevecca Nazarene. The Jackets lost to the Trojans in five sets when they played at Trevecca earlier in the month, but tonight, they swept the Trojans, 25-22, 35-33, 25-14. With tonight’s victory, the Jackets are in sole possession of the conference’s number one spot, but they are not looking too far ahead.
“We haven’t cinched anything up yet,” Coach Doug Walters said. “We’ve still got to win these next couple of matches, and then we’ll have things under control. This puts us in the driver’s seat right now, but we’re not ready to celebrate it yet until we get a couple of more wins.”
Cedarville won a closely contested first set by a score of 25-22. The second set became one of the most exciting sets the Callan Athletic Center has seen the entire season. The Jackets trailed by four at the beginning of the match but climbed back to tie the match at 16. The set then had 17 ties before the Jackets won the tie-break 35-33.
“We talked last week about how we ride these roller coasters of emotions, and what you want to try to find is a place where you’re steady,” Walters said. “We were so jazzed up that we were making a ton of errors when they were giving us chances to put the game away. In those moments you’ve got to calm it down a little bit so that you can execute cleanly.”
Senior Hannah Wagner said, “I leaned over to Maddie (Ledbetter) toward the end (of the second set) when it just kept going back and forth and I was like, ‘Whoever wins this set, that’s going to be the momentum changer.’ And I truly think that we could have gone a few more sets if we had lost that second set. Winning that, I think, was the key to winning in three.”
The momentum had definitely shifted as the Jackets dominated the third set, leading by as many as 12. They went on to win the set and the match by a score of 25-14.
Not only was Friday night a huge win for the Jackets, but it was also was Senior Night for Hannah Wagner, Maddie Ledbetter, and Amanda Bell.
“These three are the first ones that have played all four years as Division II athletes. They’ve helped really establish what we are right now,” Walters said. “We’ve spent the last four years building into the top team in the conference, but also being a competitive team in the top quarter of the region, and top quarter of the country. It’s been in big part to what those three have done and the leadership they’ve had the last four years.”
Bell finished the night with 12 kills and 10 digs, Wagner had 12 kills and two blocks, and Ledbetter had 24 assists. Ledbetter is on pace to eclipse 3,000 assists for her career tomorrow afternoon against Kentucky Wesleyan.
“My favorite part of the program has honestly just been my teammates,“ Wagner said. “It’s so much fun out there. As much as I’m going to miss playing this sport, I’m going to miss all of the girls on my team. We really are a family, and I love them all so much.”
With this win, the Jackets move to 15-12 on the season and 7-1 in the conference. They play their next game at home on Saturday, October 25, at 1 p.m. against Kentucky Wesleyan.
Paul McMichael is a senior preseminary Bible major and a sports reporter for Cedars.