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It was a back-and-forth effort between the two teams, staying tied early at 8-8. However, a 13-3 rally by Clever gave them a big lead and put them in a position to soon close out the set. During that first set, the difference between Cassville and Clever was the team communication on the court and from the bench. The Lady Jays were talking on rotations and calling for balls much better than the Lady Cats, ultimately the disparity in the opening set.
“We clicked and did everything we were supposed to,” Clever had volleyball coach Teresa Hanafin said. “They were confident in themselves and their teammates, had good possessions, and weren’t second guessing themselves.”
Cassville, down a set and on the road, did not give in though. They won the second set 25-17 in what was an impressive performance. The Lady Cats got off to an early lead, 10-6. The communication aspect of the game, which they lacked in the first set, was much more apparent in the current set.
Clever battled and chipped away at the deficit, bringing the game to within two points. However, a 10-4 return rally by Cassville ended the second set in favor of the Lady Cats.
“When someone made a mistake they would hold onto that for too long and start doubting themselves and their teammates because of it,” Hanafin said.
Entering the final set, the only advantage that seemed to be evident was the home crowd for Clever. The Lady Jays played similar to how they did in the first set. They got off to an early 7-2 lead, and forced Cassville to use a timeout to regroup. Clever was determined not to be denied in the final set. They continued upon that early run, eventually gaining an 18-6 lead. Clever also limited their mental mistakes in the third set, thus proving to be the difference in the game. Coach Hanafin raved about her players and how they were able to bounce back in the third set and play well throughout the night.
“Julia Krebs did a really good job in her hitting tonight,” Hanafin said. “Also, Abby Twig dug some really good balls in back. Then Bailey Baumann was phenomenal of course tonight. She is one of our leaders on the team.”
Though the Clever team was the more dominant team for the majority of the game, there are some lessons they can take away from the match.
“We need to be more vocal so we don’t have just a Bailey and Julia as our hitters and not make them our only options,” Hanafin said. “We have lots of girls who are good hitters but they have to be more vocal so our setters know to get it to them.”
Cassville will next face off against East Newton tomorrow, and Clever will have off until Thursday when they play Hollister.