Defending Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division champion Berkshire needed five sets to defeat host Kirtland on Tuesday.
The Badgers won the first set 25-23 then struggled in a 25-12 set two defeat. The Badgers held off the Hornets in the third set, 25-22, then dropped the fourth, 25-15. Berkshire improved to 7-4 overall and 5-1 in league play with a 15-10 win in the decisive fifth set.
“We did not play our best as a team, by any means, tonight, but we were able to dig deep when we needed it to pull out a must-win,” said Berkshire coach Joni Prots.
Madison Chapman led the Badgers with 18 digs and four service aces. She also scored 11 points and tied Delaney Tucek for the team lead with 18 kills.
“The last couple of matches, we have had several different lineups due to injuries on our team,” Chapman said. “I felt that tonight we started to gain momentum back to where we needed to be. We had a lot of ups and downs throughout the first four sets, what worked in some didn’t work in another. In set five, we pulled together to execute our passing and putting the ball down when we needed with a lot of communication.”
Tucek also recorded 12 digs and three points. Kayla Dingman contributed with 14 points and three aces. Olivia Freiling pitched in with a team-high 43 assists and five points and Marisa Miller closed out the match with 10 digs, seven points and two aces.
Berkshire needed the win to remain just one game behind conference leader Cardinal.
The Hornets, who dropped to 3-5 overall and 2-4 in league play, got off to a fast start by taking a 23-19 lead in the first set. Berkshire rallied back for the win.
“Unfortunately, we gave away a lead in game one,” said Kirtland coach Bob Schenosky. “The team came back in game two and played as well as I have seen this season but we just lacked consistency.”
Katherine Skrbis led the Hornets with 15 kills and also recorded 10 digs. Laura Koschik paced Kirtland with 23 digs and also finished with six kills and Nicole Aveni posted a team-high 31 digs.
“It’s something to build on for the rest of the year,” Schenosky said.