Late in game two of Tuesday's volleyball matchup between South Putnam and Cloverdale, it looked like the match of the year. The atmosphere was electric. The two teams were trading points and runs. South Putnam had taken the first match, but it was anybody's match.
It was sweet revenge for the Eagles (10-10, 2-1 WCC) who believed they had given away the matchup with the Clovers (13-6, 3-2 WCC) at the Putnam County Tournament."
"We had some business to take care of from County because we basically just felt like we gave the County to them when we played," South Putnam coach Jill Newton said. "We had control of that game, and then lost focus. We wanted to redeem ourselves."
The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for Cloverdale. For the second straight year they won the County Tourney then gave the Putnam County Paddle to the Eagles.
"We talked about this in the past couple of days, about keeping the paddle. I think they were trying so hard not to lose it that that's all they could think about," Clover coach Kathy Moore said.
The opening game was a seesaw most of the way. It saw 12 ties and six lead changes. One team would make a run, and see the other crawl back into contention.
Finally, after a tie at 19, South Putnam gained the upper hand with three points from Emily Dabkowski. The Clovers had a couple of side outs in them, but a Brooke Boetjer block closed out the game, 25-21.
The second game was more of the same. The Eagles built a 7-4 lead, only to see the Clovers go up 13-8.
South was able to make some small runs, but the CHS maintained its lead and looked in control at 22-18.
That's when South's young squad regained the focus it's lost so many times this year.
"In the second game, we just lost our focus on the game. But then I was glad that we were able to regain the focus and then come back and win," Newton said. "That's something that has been a weak spot for us all year, but over the last week or so, I've seen a lot of improvement with us not giving up on a game."
The Eagles ran off five points in a row to take a 23-22 lead. They then held off the Clovers in the final points, 25-23.
The loss seemed to deflate the Clovers, as they came out flat in game three. South ran out to a 7-2 lead then built it to 12-5. Even a late Clover rally fell flat when they were penalized for serving out of rotation.
The Eagles closed out the third game and the match, 25-17.
The win brings South back to the .500 mark and showcases some momentum they've built recently. The Eagles believe they are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
"They're starting to see that other people should be worried when South Putnam comes into their gym," Newton said.
"I changed her to libero a couple of weeks ago, and it's paid off. She's really digging up balls, moving her feet and really taking charge of the back row," Newton said.
The Clovers lost their second match in as many nights. But last season's squad saw some hiccups along the way before rallying to a sectional championship. The coach is ready to see how the 2008 squad responds.
"It's up to each team to decide what they want to do with adversity. We'll see, starting tomorrow, what they want to do with it. It can be a motivator or it can break your back. We'll see," Moore said.
The Eagles will try to keep their momentum going tonight as they visit Tri-West at 6 p.m. The Clovers will have the rest of the week to regroup before visiting Eminence at 6 p.m. next Tuesday.
At South Putnam
|Cloverdale||21 23 17|
|South Putnam||25 25 25|
Points -- Sparks 7, Evans 6, Franklin 6, McCammon 5, Shepherd 1, Skiles 1 (C), Miller 9, Dabkowski 7, Goss 6, O. Boetjer 6, Trauner 5, Sibbitt 4 (S).
Aces -- Sparks 3, Franklin 2 (C), Sibbitt 2, Trauner 2, Miller 2 (S).
Kills -- Evans 4, McCammon 3, Cheatham 3, Andersen 2, Franklin 2, Sparks 2, Bond 1 (C), B. Boetjer 5, Trauner 4, Egold 3, Dabkowski 3, Wombles 3, O. Boetjer 1, Miller 1 (S).
Assists -- Miller 9, Dabkowski 7 (S).
Digs -- McCammon 10, Franklin 7, Shepherd 5, Evans 4 (C), Sibbitt 15, Trauner 9, Goss 8, O. Boetjer 2, Dabkowski 2, Miller 2, Egold 1 (S).
Blocks -- Cheatham 10, Bond 3, Evans 2, Franklin 1 (C), B. Boetjer 6, Wombles 4 (S).
|South Putnam||23 20|
Next match -- South Putnam (10-10, 2-1 WCC) visits Tri-West at 6 p.m. today. Cloverdale (13-6, 3-2 WCC) visits Eminence at 6 p.m. next Tuesday.