by Tim Miller
The Cedarville Lady Jackets suffered a disappointing loss to the Anderson (SC) Trojans in front of a monster crowd on Friday night, losing 28-26, 25-18, and 25-20. Cedarville falls to 1-1 on the season after beating Northwood to open their season at the Cedarville University Invite.
“Credit to Anderson, they’re a very good team,” head coach Greg Smith said after the loss. “They won the conference last year and they gave us a lot of troubles. They stepped up their game.”
Sophomore Sara Beste led the way for the Lady Jackets, piling up 11 kills and 10 digs. Junior Sierra Schuitema reached 29 assists and 10 digs.
Both Smith and Beste said the team struggled to stay encouraged when trials struck throughout the match. The two said they can’t get so easily swayed tomorrow and throughout the season.
“Our body language throughout the whole time needs to be better. We have to put it behind us and get better in that aspect,” Beste said.
A pass, set, and spike gave Cedarville a 1-0 lead to start the match, and an error by Anderson on the next point allowed the Cedarville faithful to remain in a state of euphoria to start the contest. The Lady Jackets scored the first four points of the set, which effectively set the tone for the Lady Jackets to being the match.
Cedarville’s lead jumped to 7-2 before Anderson called its first timeout. The timeout cooled off the Lady Jackets, but only for a moment, as they took two points in a row to extend their margin after losing three of the first five points out of the timeout.
While Anderson was able to keep it close for a bit, the Lady Jackets burst scoring six of the next eight points, forcing Anderson to burn its final timeout at 17-11.
After the timeout, it was the Trojans’ turn to go on a run, as they scored six of the next seven points. The run gave Anderson momentum and before losing the lead, Cedarville called its first timeout.
The Lady Jackets lost their lead off an error by Cedarville, and dropped to a two-point deficit at 22-20. Smith called his last timeout at that point as the Trojans had CU on their heels.
With no timeouts left for either side, there would be no regrouping from there. Cedarville took the first three points to go up 23-23. However, the Trojans would eventually take a hard-fought first set, winning 28-26.
Smith said giving up multiple two-point runs to close the set eventually hurt the Lady Jackets.
The Lady Jackets surrendered two service errors in the set, which could have been detrimental to losing by a deuce.
Anderson took the momentum from the last part of the first set into the second. Anderson went up 5-4 over Cedarville to start, and then scored four in a row to go up 9-5. Cedarville took its first timeout as Anderson seemed to have the Lady Jackets on the ropes.
While Cedarville kept it close for most of the set, they failed to even tie the set for the remainder of the second. The over 1,000 fans packed into Callan were slowly lulled and silenced, and the Lady Jackets looked to be in trouble as they’d need to pull off a backwards sweep.
Anderson again took an early lead to start the third set, and the life seemed to be sucked out of the Callan Athletic Center as some fans began to take their seats after standing and bringing energy in the first two sets.
The Lady Jackets suffered another abysmal set, as their only lead came three points into the set. They scored nine of 10 points to give the Trojans a run for their money and cut the deficit to 21-18, but other than that run, Anderson cruised by the Lady Jackets, winning the set 25-20 en route to a 3-0 sweep.
“We dug ourselves in a hole and it was a little too late. I did like the fact that we kept fighting,” Smith said.
The Lady Jackets look to right the ship tomorrow to close out the Cedarville University Invite against the University of Indianapolis at 1:30 p.m. Indy is 2-0 and beat Anderson to start the invite before defeating Northwood to close their day today.
“It’s gonna be another strong test. This is why we play these tournaments at this level. My expectation is that we continue to get better tomorrow,” Smith said.