CLOVERDALE -- It was a knock down, drag out match from the start and in the end the Clovers came up short -- two points short.
After trailing 13-7 in the fifth set of its match with South Vermillion Monday, Cloverdale strung together a four point run and then a five point run to take a 15-14 lead.
But it wasn't enough.
The Wildcats recorded three straight points, winning the match 17-15, and served the Clovers their first home loss of the season, 3-2, and their third straight.
"It was a knock out, drag out match and a loss and it's going to sting," CHS coach Alisha Polite said. "But these girls have come leaps and bounds from game one until now. We talked about being on the attack more, that wasn't one of our high points tonight. We weren't tipping when we should have in those tight situations."
Tight situations seemed to be the only situations that the Clovers knew Monday. Even when they won it was a tight.
Cloverdale lost their first set 25-22, after they had a 20-15 lead. Then in the second set they had to battle back from being down 15-10 at one point and won 25-23. They continued their momentum into the third set and won 25-20 thanks to some solid defensive passing and serving. Kimber Laxton served up four aces in the game. Cloverdale couldn't hold on for three straight wins and lost the fourth set 25-20.
"They found our weak spot tonight. They found our hole and exploited it," Polite said about the Clovers. "I hate to say that we lost because we are young, because I don't think that's the reason at all. I told them they have to be their biggest fans. You can tell when they are down that the atmosphere is them biting their finger nails. We practice this in practice, practicing being down and I think that helps."
Even though her team lost, Polite said that she saw some major improvements.
"The first three games we won with no one having more than three kills," Polite said. "We have worked on things. Thursday we were a different team than we were earlier that week and we went to work Friday and worked on the attack.
"This team is a team of transfer. They transfer what they work on practice to their game," Polite said. "I see something every game that they worked on in practice the day before."
The art of the kill must have been on the practice schedule last week, because even though it lost, Cloverdale made South Vermillion work for the win.
Bradanne Toney collected 15 kills in Monday's match, including the set winner in the second set. Breegan Andersen chipped in four and Holly McCammon, Taylor Jones and Samantha Williams had three each. Stacia Shepherd had two kills.
"I couldn't ask for a harder working group," Polite said. "I tell them that this loss should sting, but learn to from it."
Cloverdale is back in action today when it travel to Clay City for a 6 p.m. showdown with the Eels.
South Vermillion -- 25 23 20 25 17
Cloverdale -- 22 25 25 20 15
Next Match -- Cloverdale is back in action today it they travel to Clay City for a 6 p.m. showdown with the Eels.