LEON – Central Decatur lost three tough sets to a strong Southwest Valley team last Tuesday, falling in three straight sets.
Central Decatur was tested from the start as Southwest Valley jumped out ahead early on a 7-2 run to take control at a 10-5 points lead. The Cardinals’ slow start resulted in a few balls falling in between players on lack of floor communication.
A long volley between the Cardinals and the Timberwolves resulted in a point for Southwest Valley pushing the score to 12-9 in favor of SWV. The point was the start of another long stretch where the Timberwolves pulled away, this time going on a 10-2 run to make the score 21-11,
Two scores for Central Decatur knocked the Timberwolves off their rhythm, but SWV regained its groove as it won four straight points to take the 1-0 set lead.
The Cardinals battled back in the second set, going ahead early 4-2 before surrendering the lead on a five-point run for SWV.
Central Decatur hung around enough to keep it at a one-point game, but the Timberwolves kept outmatching and outplaying the Cardinals to pull ahead for a 25-20 set win to go ahead 2-0.
Entering the evening match, Southwest Valley head coach Linday Wetzel divised a gameplan to combat both a quality setter in Maizee Lindsey and a tall middle blocker like Alaina Applegate.
“I knew the their tall middle (Applegate) was still around and their setter (Lindsey), so we kind of prepared for those things – keeping it away from them, trying to get them out of the system so they have to push it outside,” said Wetzel.
The efforts to keep Applegate and Lindsey as a non-factor worked, as the tall blocker and vocal leader on the floor struggled against the hard hitting Jentry Schafer and quick movements of the Southwest Valley front line.
In the third set, a visibly frustrated Cardinals teams was unable to stop the Timberwolves as a Schafter block turned the tide in SWV’s favor at 6-3.
At 16-8, Schafer went up and over the net for a powerful kill that was the metaphorical dagger on a CD team that was starting to get desperate.
The slam was one of two in a 9-0 run to pull the lead to 22-8 in favor of the Timberwovles.
CD showed a second wind, running off five straight points of its own, but SWV put the match to bed on three points of its own for the 25-14 match victory.
“I knew they had a couple of big hitters,” said Central Decatur head coach Chelsey Green. “I just knew we had to get our block up, which we didn’t really do until that third set. That’s kind of what beat us there. We weren’t really playing our defensive game like we had been.”
The Cardinals were led in blocks by Applegate with two solos. Shira Alley, Addiston Graham and Morgan Nordyke each had two kills as the leaders.
Carlee Hamilton had 12 digs and Lindsey had 10.
Friday, IGHSAU ranked Southwest Valley as the No. 10 team in Class 1A. The Timberwolves were previously unranked.