Huskies hold off hard-charging Hornets

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KIRTLAND—It isn’t often Chagrin Valley Conference teams play back-to-back games against a conference opponent but that’s the situation Cardinal and Kirtland found themselves in on Wednesday.

Cardinal swept Wickliffe on Tuesday then traveled to Kirtland on Wednesday to play the Hornets, who had swept Berkshire the night before.

Battling a dangerous Kirtland team as well as the heat and humidity inside the Hornets’ Next, Cardinal managed a 3-1 win.

“Back-to-back games are always tough, especially conference matches back-to-back,” Cardinal coach Karsica Chambers said. “Last night, we played Wickliffe and it was a battle. I was worried we may be exhausted today especially with the heat. That’s how we started our season. We had Independence, who is a powerhouse, and the next day (we played) a very impressive West Geauga team.”

The Huskies didn’t fare well in their first set of back-to-back games but they rewrote the script this week with wins over both Wickliffe and Kirtland.

“This time around was different,” Chambers said. “The girls were focused and we want to be on top of the conference again. This win tonight was huge for our program and our team unity. Kirtland fought hard and definitely competed, but we were solid tonight and I’m super proud of the girls. I’m excited to see what we can do this season.”

Cardinal opened the match with 25-22 and 25-17 wins in the first two sets and nearly put the Hornets away in three but Kirtland rallied from 22-19 and 23-21 deficits to win the third set, 27-25. Kirtland then held a nine-point lead in the fourth set but couldn’t hold on and Cardinal improved to 4-3 while the Hornets dropped to 1-1.

“It was tough to come back for only two practices before our first two games, back-to-back at that,” Kirtland coach Arlayna Newcomer said. “I have no doubt in our talent and ability to perform well. We’ve faced extreme circumstances that no one else but us can understand. While we came out slow tonight, I’m glad we were able to pick it up as the game went on. We’re looking forward to getting some more time in the gym and getting back into the swing of things.”

Lindsay Hissa led Cardinal with 11 kills and she also posted three blocks in the win. Alaina Strever recorded a team-high 18 digs and Haley Domen led the way with 33 assists and she also contributed with 20 digs. Lorelei Hutchinson finished the night with seven blocks.