Cloverdale stays perfect with three set win
CLOVERDALE -- Cloverdale's volleyball squad has a point to prove this season.
Knocking off defending WCC champion Cascade last week, the Clovers settled in for their fourth match of the season against Clay City, a squad that had dropped the hosts in straight sets in the past two seasons.
Instead, it was Cloverdale who completed the whitewash as the hosts dropped the Eels 25-18, 25-19 and 25-21.
Each of the three sets had a similar pattern, one that worked in the Clovers' favor.
Both squads started off trading points before Cloverdale took a four to five point lead. Clay City would rally before the Clovers shut the door late in each set.
Starting in the first set, the hosts built their lead to 16-12 before Clay City began to close the gap.
The squads traded two points at a time before the Clovers scored six of the final nine points to take the first set.
The hosts then raced out to a 14-5 lead in the second set before the Eels began to rally again.
A contentious decision threatened to spur on Clay City late in the set.
After falling behind 22-14, the Eels were initially denied a point to at 22-15 that eventually was overturned by the officials.
The visitors tried to seize the momentum after winning the next two points, but the Clovers held firm and closed out the set with three of the final four points.
The hosts would again get an early lead at 13-8 before Clay City fought back to take the lead at 15-14.
The two sides traded the lead back and forth until 17-17, when Cloverdale's Adri Patterson rattled off seven straight points on serve, including three aces that undid the Eel defense.
The visitors would take the next four points but could not prevent Bradanne Toney from finishing the job for a three set sweep.
Toney finished with 16 kills, 10 digs, five blocks and five points while Patterson served four aces along with collecting eight points.
Paige Gruener had 11 points, six digs and four kills while Lindsay Robson added seven digs and five points. Bristy Skiles had 20 assists, seven digs and a kill, Rebekah Jordan added six points, four digs and a kill and Taylor Jones added seven points, seven digs and five kills.
Cloverdale head coach Kathy Moore was relieved after the match to get the win.
"I feel glad to get through this match. Clay City has been a thorn in our side. They play good ball and they scratch and dig for everything," Moore said.
"Every win is important. The win against Cascade, being a conference win, is big. They have been the WCC and sectional champions for the past couple of years.
"Last year, we had them down 2-0 and then came back to beat us. It was like that last week, but we held on this time," Moore added.
"Tonight's match was big for us because Clay City doesn't quit on a ball and that was nice for us to see. We dug everything up for the most part and had a couple of fantastic saves and sweet blocks."
Moore said that the squad, having won their opening four matches, had an energy about them that might make for a special season.
"We're playing very well right now heading into a match with West Vigo on Thursday and three matches next week. This is a tough two weeks for us and there's no easy road around here," Moore said.
"Our home fans have been terrific. There's been a lot of people in the stands and they've helped us win against Cascade and Clay City here tonight.
"There are great fans here in Cloverdale and I'm really happy with our performance. I'm excited about the season and so are the kids," Moore added.
"When you feel that kind of passion and excitement, good things are going to happen."
Clay City 18 19 21
Cloverdale 25 25 25