By Abigail Hintz
A scrappy Kentucky Wesleyan team took down the Cedarville Lady Jackets in straight sets with scores of 25-23, 25-10 and 25-15. The promise the Jackets showed in the first quickly fell to numerous errors and a lack of intensity. They now move to 14-9, with a record of 6-3 in the G-MAC, keeping them in fourth place.
Cedarville was led by sophomore outside hitter Liene Miller, who came away with 14 kills and six digs. Sophomore outside hitter Sara Beste contributed six kills and nine digs, Senior middle hitter Brooke Blattner added four kills, and sophomore libero Emily Ward had ten digs.
“We definitely didn’t have the best performance,” said Ward. “We just weren’t able to find the court as well as we wanted to.”
The Lady Jackets came out swinging, gaining their first point with an ace from Beste, followed by back-to-back kills by Miller. The Panthers came back to tie it at five, but Cedarville continued to play with intensity.
The set began to settle and the Panthers held the Jackets even with them. Then Cedarville went on a 4-0 run forcing a Kentucky timeout. The Panthers weren’t done yet, and pushed back to tie the match at 21, going on a five point run of their own. They played scrappy, preventing seemingly every ball from hitting the floor. It was back-and-forth for the rest of the set, but it ended up going to the Panthers 25-23. Miller racked up seven kills, followed by Beste with four.
The end of the first set was only the beginning of the mental lapse for the Jackets, who didn’t get any solid momentum for the rest of the match.
The Jackets couldn’t take control of the second set, going down 8-4 early after the Panthers went on another five-point run. They soon found themselves in a deep hole, calling a timeout at 13-6.
Smith made some changes to the lineup, but they fell to a 10-point deficit regardless. The Panthers held Miller to two kills and Beste to zero. The team as a whole only had three kills in the set, with the Jackets giving up nine points in the form of errors. This along with a lack of intensity from the Jacket side led to a 25-10 loss.
Cedarville found their intensity at the beginning of the third, taking the point from a long rally to build their momentum. They went up 8-5 before the first timeout, called by Kentucky. The gap between the teams stayed in Cedarville’s favor, until the Panthers went on a four-point run to take the lead 12-11. Smith called a timeout after they went down 15-12. A big setter-dump by junior Lindsey Bray gave the Jackets some momentum, but they couldn’t come out of their slump in time to catch the Panthers. Miller came out of the final set with five kills, followed again by Beste with two.
The Jackets will have to brush off Friday’s match, as they are right back to it Saturday at 1 p.m. in Callan. They will take on another G-MAC opponent, Trevecca University, who is currently 14-15 and 5-4 in the G-MAC.
After a rough night, Smith simply said, “[I hope] that they bounce back and decide to actually play.”
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.