and the homestanding Clay City Eels, but fans got their money's worth in a dramatic, 25-20, 19-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-12 Eels' win.
"That was a great match and it was a lot of fun," admitted Cloverdale coach Kathy Moore.
The Eels took the first game of the night and looked strong with their hitting, getting three kills from senior Angie Camp and nine service points from Hannah Moore to pick up the victory. On the other side of the court, Cloverdale looked a bit unsure of themselves and the veteran members of the Eels' took advantage.
The second two games were very different for both teams.
The resilient Clovers looked like a much different team as Elizabeth Cheatham started hitting and both Ashley Koosman and Kristin Koosman each got warmed up.
Koosman added two kills in the set and Cheatham set up a ringing block that gave the Clovers a 17-16 lead late in the game.
McCammon starred at the service line as well as she served up an ace and the Eels made a pair of hitting errors as Cloverdale drew out to a 22-18 lead. Another
hitting error by the Eels set up match point and Koosman finished the game with a kill.
The third game was much of the same as Cloverdale stayed fired up and pushed out to a 13-7 advantage.
The Eels got a run of their own going on kills by Britney Glass and Angie Camp in getting within 18-17.
The Clovers showed their composure as Clay City shot themselves in the foot with four hitting errors and Cloverdale took a 25-19 victory.
Cloverdale nearly had the win nailed down in the fourth game leading 20-18 late in the game but the Eels took the momentum back on kills from Glass and Kelly McCullough. Cloverdale meanwhile had a couple of unforced mistakes of their own and the Eels put together a 5-0 run to steal back the game and even the match at two games apiece, winning 25-23.
The comeback in the fourth game seemed to bolster the Eels' confidence that had been lacking in their two losses. They came out fired up in the fifth game with Mardi Steiner's serve at the peak of its effectiveness.
She served up a pair of aces and Glass got a tip at the net for a point to set up a kill from McCullough that gave the Eels a quick 5-0 lead to force a Cloverdale timeout.
True to the matches' form, the Clovers did some rallying of their own.
Senior Erica Lotz blasted two aces from the service line and Elizabeth Cheatham tipped a ball over the Eels' front line for one of her seven kills on the night.
Quickly, the Clovers had gotten right back into the thick of things at 5-4 in the deciding game.
Momentum would swing back to the Eels as Glass dropped a dink shot past the Clovers' defense to return serve to the Eels. Moore would serve up another ace, one of 23 service points on the night for the senior and Clay City stretched their lead back to 10-7 following one of Angie Camp's team-leading 13 kills.
Leading 12-10 after Cloverdale's Kaileigh Sparks service ace, the Eels got a break when the sophomore sent her next serve too long. The Eels handed the ball back on their own service error and led 13-12, but the Clovers returned the favor and Glass sent a nice back set that found open floor on the next rally for the 15-12 final game victory.
"We started out the same way last year I think," assessed Moore. "But our team improved so much and we ended up winning the sectional."
For the Clovers, Koosman had nine kills and McCammon added six. Erica Lotz had 12 assists for the Clovers and Allie Franklin had 10 digs to lead the team. The junior also led the team with 16 service points with McCammon adding 12 and Lotz had nine.
At Clay City
Next game -- Cloverdale travels to West Vigo at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Clovers are now 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the WCC.