Lady Cavaliers fall to surging conference foe Greenville
By Kyle Cunningham
The Carlinville High School volleyball team knew they would have their hands full when they traveled to Greenville on Thursday evening for an SCC tilt against the always formidable Lady Comets. The Cavaliers suffered just their fourth loss of the season two days prior when they were swept on the road two days prior by Springfield Lutheran. Before that contest, however, the team has been on an absolute tear as they won six consecutive matches culminating in a tournament championship at the Ray Long Pretzel Classic back on Sept. 15. In this particular match-up, however, the Cavies struggled against a very good veteran Greenville team with size as they fell in back-to-back sets 25-19, 25-14
The Cavaliers trailed the entirety of the first half, but were able to keep things close with key contributions from seniors Lexi Egelhoff and Adriann Welte. Despite falling behind by as many as eight points, Carlinville did not concede the game or throw in the towel when the going got tough. Instead they were able to close the gap to five, when the game could have easily gotten out of hand. It would be Haley Wills that connected on one of her four kills as her strike ricocheted off a Greenville defender to make it 23-18.
“These girls never give up. They don’t care if its 24-0 or if its 23-23, they are going to play the same way. I am really lucky with the attitudes I have “, said Cavalier head coach Kaitie Hammann.
Unfortunately, just a few moments later the Comet’s Nia Ephron powered down a slam that just landed in bounds for the game point.
In the second set the Greenville height up front really disrupted the rhythm of the Cavalier offensive attack. Unlike the first set, however the team was able to grasp the early lead. After the Comets kicked off the set with a 1-0 lead, the Cavies fired right back with their biggest run of the night which came on a four point streak. Welte got things started with a dunk over point after a long back and forth strategic battle. Egelhoff laid down a solid block on a hard hit Greenville shot that darted off the opposition and unto the court. The run was capped off by a Comet counter miscue when an attempted return barreled into the net. The Comets then answered right back as not only did they manage to tie it up, but they would later take a sizable lead after a staggering 9-0 run that features some impressive hitting. Carlinville could never regain form after that, making it 11-5 in favor of Greenville.
“We’re not used to seeing those high of middle sets, so our timing was off on our blocking”, said Hammann. “We are going to go back in the gym and work on both fast timing and slow timing”, she added.
Greenville continued to blitz the Cavaliers , even though the team was putting in a great effort to field some extremely quick shots. Libero and Carlinville senior Jordyn Houseman helped provide several low digs that were not easy returns. Carlinville was able to make it a seven point game after falling behind even further when Egelhoff was there for a crushing kill that was no match for the opposing blockers. The Comets then answered back with a 4-0 run to finish off the Cavies, 25-14.
“They have big hitters, big blockers, and they served really well tonight. They kind of took us out of our serve-receive and our fast offense. It just wasn’t our night tonight”, said Hammann.
Even though the Cavaliers came on the wrong side of the match, the senior leadership and their presence was known through out the night. Egelhoff would tie with Willis for the lead in Kills with four, while Welte trailing closely with three. Housman also tied for the lead in digs with four.
“I can’t say enough about my senior leadership. Whenever we need a big play, they step up”, said Hammann.
The Lady Cavaliers now fall to 10-5 (3-1 SCC) and will face yet another challenge when they head to Rochester to take on the 16-3 Rockets.
Senior Lexi Egelhoff (right) alongside Junior Sarah Deneve (left) help block the oncoming Comet shot in Thursday’s SCC contest at Greenville.