by Tim Miller
A young Cedarville Lady Jackets lineup was overmatched and overpowered by No. 17 Hillsdale on Saturday afternoon, loosing in a sweep. Cedarville (10-6, 5-1 G-MAC) didn’t lead for a single point in the entire match.
The Lady Jackets drop their first game of conference play after winning the first five. After showing promise in the first set, only losing 25-21, they dropped the next two sets 25-13 and 25-16.
The tandem of junior middle hitter Lauren Willow and sophomore outside hitter Liene Miller led Cedarville, as they produced 12 and nine kills respectively. Miller also had 11 digs. Junior setter Sierra Schuitema tallied 27 assists and 12 digs. Transfer sophomore Emily Ward added 12 digs.
Cedarville scored the first point of the match thanks to an unforced error, but the Chargers stormed back with four straight points. A forceful kill by Miller brought Cedarville within one at 4-3, supplying Cedarville with some clear confidence that they could hang with a nationally ranked team, at least to start the match.
A tiring volley ended in Cedarville’s favor to tie the game at 8. Hillsdale took the next point to pull the lead back to their favor, which was per usual to the game’s trajectory to that point. Cedarville was making enough small runs to stay in it, but couldn’t get the lead.
Down 12-8, the Lady Jackets used their first timeout. Out of the timeout, Cedarville won four of the first six points to tighten the gap at 14-12. A kill by freshman outside hitter Riley Hensley allowed Cedarville to creep the score to 16-15, giving the Lady Jackets a true chance to take hold of the lead late in the set. However, the Lady Jackets were unable to pull any closer, and Hillsdale prevailed in the first set, 25-21.
Cedarville dug itself into a hole in the second set, as poor performance brought them to an early deficit. Down 9-5, the Lady Jackets burned their first timeout.
The timeout did nothing but prolong the beating Cedarville received in the second set. They struggled to play in system and suffered from miscommunications and sloppy play en route to a 25-13 meltdown.
The Lady Jackets more than doubled their amount of attack errors from the first set to the second, climbing from eight to 17. The Chargers, comparatively, had five attack errors in the first set and just one in the second.
Cedarville continued to struggle in the third set, and head coach Greg Smith subbed in sophomore outside hitter Sara Beste after she sat the entire match last night. Beste didn’t see much playing time, but sent two of her three attempts to the floor for kills, a team-high on attack percentage, though she did it in a small sample size.
The Lady Jackets were never able to seize control of the set at any time. They’d go on to lose the third set 25-16.
Cedarville rests for the week until they head to Indianapolis, Indiana to take part in the Midwest Region Crossover next weekend. The Lady Jackets will play one match on Friday before taking on two teams on Saturday to close the invite. The matchups have not been announced.
Tim Miller is a senior Marketing major and Sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, knowing too much about health insurance, and striving to perfect the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.