CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- For two sets, the Cleveland Lady Raiders breezed to wins over Knox Catholic Wednesday. But the Lady Irish roared back in set three pushing Cleveland to the wall before the Raiders pushed back hard enough to pull off a slim victory to earn the sweep.
The 9-4 Lady Raiders defeated the 11-5 Irish by set scores of 25-15, 25-13 and 28-26.
Cleveland started off in control of the night running up a 17-7 lead on the strength of kills by Lauren Hurst and Gunny Brock, who also came with a big block. Gunny and Addison Brock also suppled aces during the run. Lily O'Bryan kept Cleveland out front 15-0 with a kill and Audra Capps made it 18-12 with a block. The Lady Raider stretched the lead to 24-14 before O'Bryan finished off the set with a final kill.
It was the same story in set No. 2 as Gunny Brock added another ace and Hurst fired kills to the floor. Kinslee McGowan also served up a pair of aces to make it 13-2 in the early going. Late in the set, Gunny Brock added two more aces to her numbers while also booking another pair of kills as Cleveland ran the score to 24-11. Hurst took tho honors closing out the set with a final blast.
“I thought we came out the first two sets and played really good. I thought all three games were really good. The first set we missed eight serves and we still won by quite a lot,” said Lady Raiders head coach Amy McGowan. “I think we were putting the ball down better than we have been in the previous games. We were connecting better and our passing was better.”
The final set of the night opened with Cleveland pushing to a 6-3 lead behind aces from Zva Wenger and Hurst. A kill by McGowan, an O'Bryan block and back-to-back aces from McGowan put the Lady Raiders out front 14-9. The Irish battled back for four straight points and minutes later rallied back to tie the game 17-17 before opening a 21-18 advantage. Gunny Brock and O'Bryan cut it to 21-20 with a kill and block before Knox Catholic jumped back up 23-20.
Hurst and McGowan kept the pressure on tying the score at 23-23 with two kills from Hurst and another McGowan ace. The teams traded points with the Irish taken the lead twice only to have the Lady Raiders come back to knot the score at 25-25. A short serve by Knox Catholic gave Cleveland a 26-25 lead, but a side out again knotted the score at 27-27. Gunny Brock gave the Lady Raiders a single point advantage with a kill before Hurst put an end to the night with a final shot to the hardwood giving the Lady Raiders the victory.
Cleveland takes to the court again Thursday at home against East Hamilton. First volley is set for 6:30 p.m.
“I thought we did a good job. We didn't fold up or make too many mistakes in a row. We fought back and fought point-for-point,” said McGowan. “I think we made some serving errors and they passed a lot better (in the third set). They had some good plays. We just had some weird moments. But, we pulled it out. It was good volleyball.”