BY STEVE FIELDS
For the Banner Graphic
CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Clovers overcame a slow start Tuesday night to earn one of the biggest high school volleyball victories in the program's recent history.
After losing game one, and falling behind 20-14 in game three, Cloverdale rallied to earn a 3-1 victory over the rival Owen Valley Patriots on Volleyball Alumni Night at Cloverdale High School.
"I've been coaching here at Cloverdale 15, 16, 17 years, not as the varsity coach, but I don't remember since I've been here us beating them," Cloverdale coach Kathy Moore said after the 25-27, 25-14, 26-24, 25-11 win.
Cloverdale, ranked No. 10 in Class 2A in the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association (ICGSA) volleyball poll, is 9-0 overall going into the Putnam County Tourney on Saturday. Cloverdale plays Greencastle in the first round.
"Between Owen Valley and Cascade, those two have been our biggest wins in terms of toughness. Owen Valley digs the ball very well. When Bradanne (Toney) hits the ball and (the Patriots) are digging, that shows some toughness on their part," Moore said.
With former Cloverdale players and coaches of sectional and regional champs cheering from the stands, Cloverdale got points, kills, digs and assists from every player on the court.
Bradanne Toney finished the night with 22 kills, five blocks 21 digs and 16 points. Adrianna Patterson delivered 12 kills and seven digs. Taylor Jones had six kills and 10 digs. Paige Gruener had two kills and 12 digs and Lindsay Robson had two kills and five digs.
Setter Bristy Skiles passed out 33 assists, had 11 digs and three kills and Rebekah Jordan, who tipped in the match-winning kill, served two aces and came up with nine digs.
Owen Valley, now 5-5, took the early lead in game one, going ahead 15-10 at one point. But the Clovers tied the score 20-20 and even took a 25-24 lead on a Toney kill.
Owen Valley won the next three points and took a 1-0 advantage into game two. But the Patriots didn't have the momentum. The Clovers never trailed in game two and blew the contest open, going from 13-11 to a 25-14 win.
"I was proud of the girls. They never quit out there. They were kind of quiet and a little bit subdued in game one. Not themselves at all. And then they turned it around in game two," Moore said.
It appeared the Patriots were going to return the favor in game three when they took a 9-4 lead. But Patterson sandwiched two kills around a Patriot error and the Clovers had the game tied 12-12.
Showing their toughness, the Patriots bounced back and led 21-14 before the Clovers dug.
Getting kills from Toney, Jones and Skiles, Cloverdale outscored OV 12-3. The Patriots were one point away from a win, but the Clovers never came up and Jones brought the Clovers to within one, 24-23, then on Toney's serve, Skiles put the Clovers ahead 25-24 and a tip by Jones gave the Cloverdale the 26-24 win.
"Keeping a high intensity in a match is difficult because it's a game of ebbs and flows with this rally scoring. You're never really safe in this game," Moore said.
"I was real proud of them (for the way) they came back. And then in game four they knew what they wanted to do and did it."
Cloverdale dominated game four en route to the 25-11 win. Patterson served 11 straight Cloverdale points, including an ace, taking the Clovers from a 4-2 lead to a 15-2 advantage. Toney hammered out five kills in the run.
The Putnam County Tourney contest with Greencastle is the next goal for the Clovers.
In JV action, Cloverdale pulled out a 21-25, 25-23, 15-11 victory. The Clovers are now 5-4.
Owen Valley 27 14 24 11
Cloverdale 25 25 26 25
Next match -- Cloverdale (9-0, 2-0 in WCC) will play Greencastle in the Putnam County Tourney on Saturday.