Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Berkshire edges Cardinal in rivalry throwback

MIDDLEFIELD—The rivalry is back!

Cardinal dominated Berkshire over the past two seasons but after the Badgers edged the Huskies, 3-1, on Thursday it’s safe to say the rivalry has been renewed.

Berkshire won the first set, 25-23, then cruised to a 25-12 win in the second. The Huskies climbed back into the match with a 25-23 win in the third set but came up short, 25-23, in the fourth.

“I have to give it to my girls,” said Cardinal coach Karisca Chambers. “We knew from Day 1 this was going to be the game of the season. They knew coming out this was going to be a tough match. You have to give it to Berkshire, they are a very solid team, defensively and offensively and they did a good job tonight.”

As expected, Berkshire’s Sydney Mighton and McKenna Tucek led the Badgers with 20 and 14 kills, respectively.

The Huskies tried to counter their powerful attack by shifting their block to take away the outside. The Badgers made them pay by hitting the middle.

“We actually planned for those two to be their top hitters,” Chambers said. “We worked on bringing our block in to take away the line and as soon as we did that they would hit across. They did a nice job of making our block move and they hit over the top of the block because they can jump.”

Berkshire (7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference) took a 23-17 lead in the opening set before the Huskies rallied behind the serving of Jordyn Schultz to pull to within 24-23. The Badgers finished off that set then broke open a 3-3 tie in the second set by scoring 15 of the next 18 points.

The Huskies never recovered in that game.

“It’s always hard playing Berkshire for the first time because of the emotions and because it’s a big rivalry game,” Chambers said. “They did exactly what we worked on except in the second game I think they got into a rut and it was hard for them to dig themselves out and what it got to eight and 10 points at that point it was very hard for them to scratch their way out because it was such a deep hole.”

At that point, momentum belonged to the Badgers but it quickly evened out after the Huskies jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the third set and never looked back in pulling to within 2-1 of the Badgers.

The fourth game was as close as the first and included five lead changes.

“They fought,” Chambers said. “I have to give that to my team. They didn’t just roll over and let Berkshire walk all over them.”

Caitlyn Lechene led the Huskies with 21 kills and also had 13 blocks and five digs. Maddie Bean recorded 30 assists, seven digs and two service aces. Schultz had five kills, 15 digs and two service aces. Megan Zeigler contributed with 17 digs and three aces and Haley Adams had six blocks and three kills

Cardinal dropped to 6-1 on the year and 4-1 in league play.

“I talked to the girls after the game and I told them to keep their heads high,” Chambers said. “It was a very well fought game. We have another shot at Berkshire. It’s not over. The CVC is not given to them. We have another shot at them and now we know what to expect. Just keep your Husky Pride up and don’t hang your head.”

The Huskies will compete in the Chardon Tournament on Saturday. Game 2 of the Cardinal-Berkshire series will be played at Berkshire on Oct. 8.

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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