The Cleveland Lady Raiders fought for their district lives against 5-AAA foe Soddy-Daisy Tuesday in the CHS volleyball gym. But when the final point of the night flashed on the scoreboard, the Lady Trojans celebrated the end of the Lady Raiders’ perfect district run.
“We set the tone. In game one we lost by five points and we probably played a couple of the worst games we have played all season tonight, so we just have to learn from this, Lady Raiders coach Trish Flowers said of the 3-1 loss. “We did pick it up in the last game. If we had started with that energy, tonight would probably have been a different story.”
The Lady Raiders failed on numerous opportunities throughout the four-game set to capitalize on serve and could not overcome 13 service errors while managing only four aces. Time after time the Lady Trojans snatched the point on a Cleveland serve.
“We just weren’t getting the points,” said Flowers. “Soddy is going to be a good team. They are scrappy and they are big girls. A lot of their girls are coming in here with softball strength and they serve aggressively.”
The only win of the night for the Lady Raiders came in game two after a 25-20 loss in the opener.
Marissa Langford picked up two of her 23 kills to put Cleveland up 4-2. Two more powerful blasts minutes later made it an 8-3 game. Cleveland held a 12-8 lead with an Allison Botts kill then held on as Soddy fought back to cut it to 12-11 before a side out put the Lady Raiders up by two.
The Lady Trojans raced back to tie the game at 15-all, but Langford stepped up to make it an 18-15 game. Lauren Borst blocked a Soddy-Daisy kill shot to make it 19-16, and a kill by Addie Strode preceded a pair of Soddy errors, giving Cleveland a 22-16 advantage.
Strode made it 24-14 with her second kill of the run, but again the Lady Trojans fought their way back into the game with four points to close the gap to 24-21 before Strode finished it off with a final kill for the 25-21 win.
Game three saw the Lady Trojans control early and cruise to a 25-13 win.
The Lady Raiders controlled the final game of the night, building a 6-2 lead and racing to a 13-6 upper hand on the strength of back-to-back-to-back KK Clements aces. A Langford kill made it 15-8 before Soddy-Daisy began to turn the tables with a four-point run to close it to 15-12. The Lady Raiders held onto a slim lead at 24-21 before the Lady Trojans fired off four points to take the lead 25-24.
From there, Cleveland managed to tie the game twice before Soddy slammed the door on the 28-26 win.
“That game was ours. We were up the whole game. We have some inexperience out there,” said a disappointed Flowers. “We practiced a game plan and they did not apply it until the last game. We started to see some of the things we practiced in that game, but it was too late.”
Strode finished with seven kills and 11 digs for the Lady Raiders while Botts ended with six kills. Clements had three of Cleveland’s four aces to go with 22 receptions and 14 digs. Lady Raiders libero Kayla Lee ended her night with the other Cleveland ace and recorded 31 receptions and 34 digs. Kellee Geren finished with 33 assists and 11 digs while Lauren Lee picked up 13 receptions and 10 digs. Langford booked 21 digs to go with 23 kills.