"Beating Greencastle has been a goal of ours. We talked about setting a goal in terms of things we want to achieve this year and one of those is working our way toward a conference championship. We knew we still have three to go," Cloverdale head coach Kathy Moore said.
Cloverdale came out strong and cruised to a convincing 25-9 first set win over the Tiger Cubs. But instead of packing it up and calling it a night, Greencastle steadied itself and came out with more energy.
In the second set, Greencastle trailed 3-0 before battling back to force a 10-all tie. The Tiger Cubs took a 13-11 edge, but Cloverdale tied it at 13-all before putting some distance between the teams.
With Cloverdale in front 22-16, GHS rallied back to close within one point at 23-22. Bradanne Toney recorded a stuff to give the Clovers a two-point advantage. A Greencastle miscue at the net gave the Clovers a 25-22 win.
The intensity didn't diminish in the third set, but large scoring runs allowed the Clovers to seize a sizeable advantage. The Clovers moved out front 16-6, but the Tiger Cubs came to life, scoring six straight points to pull with four at 16-12. The two teams traded points before Cloverdale closed out the third set with a Toney kill.
While it goes in the record books as a loss, Greencastle head coach Trish Lowe was pleased with her team's performance.
"I'm happy," Lowe said. "The kids did what I asked them to do. We have a lot of work to do, but I'm pleased with the adjustments they've made. They were positive, they jumped in with both feet and they did what I asked them to do.
"I know Cloverdale's a good team, I know Bradanne is an awesome player and I felt good with -- we didn't get blown out of the gym and we competed."
It's been a week of uncertainty for GHS. Former head coach Liz Spencer resigned on Tuesday, but the team pulled together and played as a solid unit Thursday. Lowe said the team is staying positive and focused on moving forward.
"They've done a good job," Lowe said. "They're victims of circumstance and they're just accepting things and we're going to stay positive and move on. We're just going to do our jobs. We're just going to stay in there.
"It's about the kids. They want to play. I want them to play and I want them to learn and get better."
The two teams will see each other during next weekends Putnam County match. Moore said she expects to see an even more improved team the next time they see the Tiger Cubs.
"We play Greencastle again in a week and I feel like they're going to be a better team the next time we see them," Moore said. "Any time we play Greencastle it's always a dogfight because that game was actually close.
"We knew it's going to be a tough one comes next Saturday morning. We have some things to work on in terms of how to defend some of the things they're doing over there," she added.
"Are we excited about the season? You bet ya," Moore continued. "None of us can think of any teams that have gone 8-0. So we're happy, but we're humble. We know the more we win the bigger the target we get on our chest."
Cloverdale 25 25 25
Greencastle 9 22 19