By Julia Swain
As the ball hit the floor with a resounding thud, a collective groan rang through the gymnasium, with the visiting Ohio Dominican Wildcats storming the court following a tightly contested 3-2 win.
Despite this, the Cedarville Yellow Jackets walked off the court with determination as a result of the gutsy performance that was put on, falling just short of the victory.
The Yellow Jackets dropped the first set 25-14. Head coach Greg Smith found this to be one of the biggest reasons for the loss.
“We had a slow start, which is not a good way to start a match” Smith said. “But we bounced back really well and we had our opportunities up five late in the fourth [set]…what we need to get better at is just closing the match out.”
The Yellow Jackets grew in both confidence and comfortability as the match went on, particularly in the second half of the match, but a brutal comeback in the fourth set from the Wildcats halted any momentum that the Yellow Jackets had going.
“I thought, well, we’re getting the ball pretty well, but we just lost our focus at the end, which is disappointing,” Smith said. “We just got to bounce back.”
The fifth set began tightly contested, but the Wildcats pulled away in the end for the victory, their sixth of the season.
“Ohio Dominican has been playing really well,” Smith said. “They’ve been playing some great matches this year, a lot of tight matches, and we knew it was going to be a dog fight.”
Freshman Madelyn Hensley (13 kills, 17 points), sophomore Janae Heegaard (11 kills, 9 blocks, 11 points), and junior Talia Felton (4 service aces, 14 digs) were some of the team’s bright spots.
In the team’s post game meeting, smiles and looks of determination were seen all around, fueled by strong performances despite the end result.
“They did some really good things,” Smith said. “We just weren’t consistent enough. We just have to learn how to be prepared for tomorrow. We have an opportunity to show the result that’s inside us, and they know it’s going to be a battle.”
The Yellow Jackets will take on the Ashland University Eagles Saturday afternoon in Callan at 2 p.m.
Julia Swain is a sophomore journalism student and the co on-campus news editor for Cedars. She enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, watching any Cleveland sports team, and hanging out with friends in her free time.
Photo by Ian Chan