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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cloverdale volleyball falls in three sets to Clay City

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(Photo)
Mariah Oetken (No. 3) lifts the ball off a Clay City kill attempt in Tuesday's contest against Clay City.
CLAY CITY -- Cloverdale came in to Tuesday's road battle with the Clay City Eels looking for its first road win of the season after picking up a home victory over South Vermillion on Monday night. However, the Eels had designs on remaining unbeaten this season and it was Clay City that scored a three-set victory, 25-14, 25-21 and 25-22.

For Cloverdale, the Clovers proved to be their own worst enemy at times with service errors plaguing the team over the course of the match. The offense wasn't able to get fully on track either as Clay City's blocking at the net and the Clovers' passing kept Cloverdale's hitters from taking over the contest.

"We had trouble passing the ball on and off all night," Cloverdale coach Kathy Moore said. "When you can't get the ball up to your setter, she's not able to set our best hitter, which is Bradanne Toney. It really makes a difference, (Mariah) Oetken had a lot of nice kills tonight, but Clay City is tough. I knew that going into the match. I knew (Clay City coach) Lu Anne (Anderson) would have them ready to play. They are a well-balanced team."

The opening game was close at the midpoint as Clay City edged ahead at 11-10, but from there it was all Eels following a block by Asie Jeffers.

She followed with a tip at the net and teammate Brielle Drelick followed with a well-placed tip of her own.

Clay City would run off six consecutive points with Meeghan Riggs serving. Drelick added one of her 14 kills and Jeffers added the first of her four successful attacks to give the Eels an 18-13 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Cloverdale got off to a quick start in the second game on a kill from Mariah Oetken, an ace by Bristy Skiles and a kill by Adrianna Patterson for a 6-0 lead. But as was the story all night, Clay City gathered itself and made a rally.

The Clovers were called for a net violation that gave the Eels their first point and a pair of aces by Drelick got Clay City within 10-5, but Cloverdale wasn't going to go quietly.

A pair of service errors and hitting mistakes pushed the Clovers lead to 15-7.

Riggs then stepped to the service line for Clay City and wouldn't relinquish the spot until she had helped hammer out eight straight points for the Eels. A Jeffers block, two hitting mistakes by the Clovers and an ace by Riggs suddenly had Clay City on top.

"In every game we were behind. The difference between last year's team and this year's team is, last year, we wouldn't have come back," Clay City coach Lu Anne Anderson said of her team's resiliency. "This year's team is able to pull together, keep fighting and keep clawing their way back and come out on top. These girls are fighters and that's what I like about them. They have a no give up attitude."

The run continued as Clay City got another kill from Drelick to take the lead and the Eels finished the game with an 18-6 run for the victory.

The third game was Cloverdale's most complete game and it went to the wire as Toney pounded out two of her eight kills and Oetken added two of her team-high 10 kills for a 13-8 lead for the Clovers.

Clay City rallied once more with Drelick successfully attacking the Clover defense and Eels' freshman, Emmie Kittle, serving up an ace and adding one of her four kills from the back row. A second ace tied the game at 15-all before Oetken put Cloverdale ahead 16-15 with a kill.

With the game's outcome hanging in the balance, Kittle followed with another attack and then a tip to knot the game at 21-all. Toney put Cloverdale ahead with a kill before Clay City's Riggs tipped the ball to space to re-tie the contest.

With the game tied at 22-all it was a hitting error by Cloverdale that opened the door. Jeffers, who had four kills and seven blocks, finished the game at the net with two stuffs to give the Eels the victory.

"We made our share of mental mistakes and way too many free balls and when those things happen I consider them defensive points," Moore said. "We're not there tonight, the third game was pretty good, but when we get the lead we need to learn how to maintain the lead."

Cloverdale got six kills from Taylor Jones, 16 digs on defense for Toney and 20 assists from Skiles.

Anderson felt the Eels had a battle on their hands against Cloverdale, which is now 2-2 overall and traveling to West Vigo on Thursday night.

"At times we were flat out, low intensity tonight," Anderson said. "I'm very glad we escaped with a win. Cloverdale is the best team we've played so far on our schedule. They had a better hitter than we've seen, but we were in the right spots, made some good digs. You could tell the girls were a little out of breath after that last game so we're going to go back to work and work on our conditioning, we had to earn more of our points tonight than we have in our first two matches when we had a lot of aces."

Clay City got 26 assists from Emmie Kittle, 16 digs from Callie Dayhuff and seven from Drelick. Riggs posted six digs and five kills for the Eels, who play Saturday at West Vigo.

In the JV game, Cloverdale's team improved to 3-1 this season with a 25-19, 18-25, 15-13 victory.