by Abigail Hintz
The Cedarville University volleyball team opened the 2019 season with a sweep over Northwood University on Saturday afternoon in their first match of the 2019 Cedarville University Invite. It was clearly a game of momentum, with scores of 25-21, 25-15 and 25-23.
Head coach Greg Smith was impressed with the fight his team showed.
“One of the things we really talked about was just having grit when we play and that really showed up today,” he said. “We were down in sets one and three, late in those sets and it just showed the fortitude that we had inside of us to be able to pull both those sets out.”
Sophomore outside hitter Liene Miller had a great start to her season, with 11 kills in 35 attempts, one service ace and four digs. Senior middle hitter Brooke Blattner contributed six kills with an impressive 0.600 kill percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Sara Beste continued her impressive campaign from last season with six kills and twelve digs.
“Everybody that played did well,” said Smith. “It was just a great team effort, which is awesome. We don’t want to have to rely on just one person.”
The Jackets started strong, snagging the first two points on a kill and an ace. The game settled shortly after and the Timberwolves took a back-and-forth lead. After a long volley that ended in favor of Northwood, the Jackets found themselves in a hole. Smith called the first timeout of the match when the Timberwolves took a 13-8 lead.
The Lady Jackets finally pulled level at 19 and 20 but couldn’t get ahead. They took the lead for the first time since early in the set with an ace from Lauren Willow, putting them up 21-20. Cedarville forced a Northwood timeout after going up 23-21. Junior Sierra Schuitema served out the game and the Jackets took the first set 25-21.
The two teams were very back and forth during the second set. Cedarville gain some momentum not far into the set, forcing a Northwood timeout when they went up 8-6. They kept the lead for the rest of the set, running away to a dominating 25-15 victory.
Freshmen made quite an impact in the match. Middle hitter Hannah Willow added five kills to the stat sheet with a 0.714 kill percentage. Outside hitter Payton Krahn took two kills and a service ace. Defensive specialist Mallory Delamarter added three service aces.
The third set was just like the first two, back and forth to start, only to see the Timberwolves take a lead and force a Jackets timeout at 12-9. Northwood continuously caused problems for the Jackets throughout the set, frustrating their offensive with some quality blocking. They took a dangerous lead at 21-18, but Cedarville pulled together and finished the sweep, winning the set 25-23.
Liene Miller was very pleased with her team’s first performance of the season.
“I think for the most part we worked hard, we got after it. I thought we were aggressive. We were just pumped and ready to go.”
The Jackets will look to build on this victory tonight back at the Callan Athletic Center where they’ll take on Anderson SC at 7:30 p.m.
Abigail Hintz is a sophomore journalism major and Digital Editor for Cedars. She loves reading, playing Spikeball with her friends and watching soccer 24/7.