by Tim Miller
The Cedarville Lady Jackets triumphed over the Ohio Dominican Panthers on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Ohio Dominican Panthers 3-2 on Senior Day in the Callan Athletic Center.
The Lady Jackets were forced to work for their Senior Day win, winning 25-15, 25-14, 26-28, 25-23 and 15-10.
Junior outside hitter Taylor Wilkerson led the way for Cedarville with 17 kills. Senior middle hitter and freshman outside hitter Lauren Willow each tallied 15 kills. Freshman setter Sierra Schuitema led all Yellow Jackets with 27 assists, while freshman setter Lindsey Bray had 25.
Head coach Doug Walters said that although he was happy with the result, the lack of urgency after the first two sets was concerning.
“In the first two sets, we were playing extremely well,” head coach Doug Walters said. “We came out of the intermission and I think we got a little complacent.”
The first set was even through the first half, but an 8-1 run midway through the set. A pair of kills from Olson and Wilkerson extended the Cedarville lead to 15-8. ODU burned its first timeout of the set after Olson buried a kill.
ODU’s attempts to close in on Cedarville were continually stymied and the pesky Yellow Jackets were able to take the first set 25-15.
Wilkerson had a huge set for the Lady Jackets, totaling eight kills. Olson followed with six kills in the set.
The Lady Jackets dominated to start the second set, as they took an 8-1 lead. The Panthers called a timeout after a forceful kill from Willow.
Cedarville still managed to take five of the next six points to take a 13-2 lead at the midway point. The Lady Jackets looked poised to cruise to a second set victory, as Walters filtered in some reserves.
The Lady Jackets furthered their lead later in the set, prompting ODU to take another timeout. With an 18-6 advantage, Walters had managed to fit every rostered player on the team into the match.
“You always want to try to get some playing time for those who don’t get a lot throughout the year,” Walters said. “Last time we had one of those moments, it did not go very well. We were still able to get out and perform this time.”
ODU was able to make the score a little more respectable after taking a few points late in the set, but the Lady Jackets won handily 25-14.
Willow chalked up five kills in the set. Schuitema doubled her assists total from seven to 14 from the first set to the second.
ODU bolted out of the third set and took an 8-2 lead causing Cedarville to call its first timeout of the entire match. Walters said his team should’ve never been in a position in which they trailed so quickly to start the set.
Cedarville powered back to cut the lead to three and trailed 10-7. The Panthers answered with a timeout to retain the momentum.
The game remained even towards the latter half of the set. ODU maintained its lead at the 18-14 junction and Cedarville called its second timeout.
The Lady Jackets answered out of the timeout with three straight points to cut the lead to 18-17. This came during a 6-1 run that gave Cedarville a 20-19 lead.
The set remained close to the match point, and Cedarville battled to tie the set at 24. ODU burned its final timeout of the set.
The teams battled back and forth, but the Panthers were the victors in the third set, winning 28-26. Wilkerson contributed five kills in the set.
Walters mentioned that three of Wilkerson’s five hitting errors during the end of the set.
“We had some opportunities to close it out but made some critical mistakes,” Walters said.
The Lady Jackets owned a small lead to start the fourth set. After the first half of the set had been played, Cedarville led 13-7 but hadn’t been able to string together a run. ODU called a timeout after the Lady Jackets took three consecutive points.
ODU clawed back late in the set, cutting Cedarville’s lead to 21-20. The Panthers called a timeout down 23-21 in a last ditch effort to take the set. ODU tied the game at 23, giving way to Cedarville taking a timeout.
The Panthers came from behind to win the fourth set 25-23. Wilkerson added four kills in the set for the Lady Jackets while Schuitema had six assists.
Cedarville took an 8-5 lead in the fifth set as the teams switched sides. Another point in the second half of the set called for ODU to take a timeout.
Two straight points by the Panthers chopped Cedarville’s lead in half to 10-8. Cedarville called its first timeout of the set with just five points needed to win the set and the match.
The Lady Jackets asserted themselves in the final part of the set, taking a 14-10 lead. The Panthers called a timeout prior to the match point.
Cedarville took the next point to win the set 15-10. Olson closed her final set at the Callan Athletic Center with five kills.
The Lady Jackets will finish their season with a two-game road trip to Kentucky Wesleyan and Trevecca on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11.
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.