by Abigail Hintz
Long volleys and scrappy play were the name of the game in Cedarville volleyball’s final game of the 2019 Cedarville University Invite in which they were handed a 3-2 loss to the University of Indianapolis. It was a hard fought battle by both teams with scores of 25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 22-25 and 9-15. The Jackets now have a record of 1-2.
Despite the loss, head coach Greg Smith said was happy with the performance and the weekend as a whole.
“It showed a lot of who we are as a team,” said Smith. “It was a tournament that showed us what we need to get better at. We’ve got a lot to work on but at the same time I like what we did this weekend.”
Junior middle hitter Lauren Willow led her team with 17 kills in just 32 attempts and nine blocks. Sophomore middle hitter Liene Miller had another great performance, coming away with 16 kills in 47 attempts. Senior Brooke Blattner and sophomore Sara Beste added 10 kills a piece.
The Lady Jackets came out swinging against a tough Greyhounds side who went undefeated in the Cedarville University Invite. Momentum began to swing their way when they went on a five point run, putting themselves up 11-9. The Jackets kept the Greyhounds defense on their toes, incorporating plays and tips rather than consistent spikes. The team was playing scrappy and aggressive, flustering Indianapolis. They stayed composed while their opponents fell apart, making many unforced errors that were not helping against a strong Cedarville offense. Junior middle hitter Lauren Willow put the set away with her fourth kill of the day to make it 25-18.
The second set picked up right where the first left off, Cedarville getting to a quick 5-2 lead. Indianapolis tied it up at eight, but the Jackets went on a defensive-heavy run to go up 11-8. They kept a narrow lead, only to pull away at 20 and finish out the set 25-22 thanks in part to some impressive serving from Willow. The Jackets had the lead for the entirety of the set, but the Greyhounds gained some dangerous momentum towards the end of the set that translated into the third.
Indianapolis gained control of the third set early, staying ahead for almost the entire set. The Cedarville offense could not produce, and found themselves out of system often, while the Greyhounds defense began reading their opponent’s play. They finally pulled level at eight, only to fall behind again due to most of their own mistakes. They finally tied it up at 18, but still couldn’t take the lead. For the first time during the set, they took the lead at 22-21. They fought hard the rest of the set, but couldn’t get themselves out of the hole, falling 25-23.
The Greyhounds continued to improve while the Jackets struggled to get into a groove, trailing for a majority of the fourth set. Cedarville finally settled in late and took a 17-16 lead. They lost it again shortly after, but the two teams were locked into a battle. Indianapolis was the first to 20, and Cedarville just couldn’t come back, falling 25-22.
Going to a fifth set was not what most expected early in the match, but neither team was backing down. It was a set fitting to the rest of the game, with one lead change and four tie scores. Momentum came the home team’s way after a massive volley and great pancake dig from libero Emily Ward to keep the play alive. Indianapolis was still the first to eight points with the Jackets only one behind. Cedarville continued fighting, but the Greyhounds were too strong and they took the set 15-9.
Willow and Smith were encouraged by the weekend as a whole.
“I feel very confident and excited about what our team can do this year,” said Willow.
The Jackets now look to next weekend when they’ll travel to Missouri for the Lindenwood Invitational. They will take on William Jewell and Lindenwood on Friday at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. respectively.
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.