CINCINNATI — Two seasons ago Cedarville made the sectional finals, and last year played for a district title.
The Indians inched another step closer to a repeat opportunity on Wednesday to make it even further into the state tournament by knocking off the No. 1-seed in its region.
Cedarville battled through two tough opening sets before taking the third with ease in a 25-18, 25-22, 25-17 upset win over Legacy Christian in sectional tournament play.
“It was a bit of extra motivation to meet someone that’s just down the street from you,” Cedarville head coach Ashley Snider said. “Beating a team that we know and that we have played before gave us a bit more fire going into the game right away. I could see the difference in my team tonight because honestly they were a team that I’ve never seen before.”
It was evident before the match and during its opening moments the energy which the Indians brought.
Cedarville players and fans remained vocal and excited throughout play, something Snider said her team has struggled with during the season.
The opening set remained tight early and was mostly tied through 14-all. Cedarville gradually was able to take an extra service point or two from that moment on until it won 25-18.
The match’s big moment came at the close of the second set. Trailing 22-18, Cedarville rallied following a timeout to take the final seven points and stop the Knights from potentially tying the match.
“Sometimes we play more intense when we’re playing the comeback game,” Snider said. “For some reason the Cedarville Indians just like to play those high intense games instead of just running away with it.”
Snider could see her team’s confidence growing in the third and final set not having to make a comeback, with juniors Anna Shepherd and Kailee Sutton standing out for their defensive play and control of the action.
The Indians got out to an early 8-3 lead and never let Legacy get within that five-point margin again the remainder of the match.
“Once we went up two games you can either get a team that is worried they’re going to fall back or one giving you all that they’re going to have because they’re afraid it’s their last chance,” Snider said. “I felt like we took a bit more advantage of them going a little slower and making mistakes on the other side of the net.”
Legacy ends its season with a 14-7 record. Cedarville improved to 13-11 and is on a three-match winning streak.
A date in the sectional final next awaits Cedarville on Wednesday when it will face the host school. Snider said getting ready for MVCA, the No. 2-seed, should be easier for her team if it keeps going about things in a similar fashion.
“We can do things the same way because they realize that it works,” she said. “I have five or six films of Miami Valley sitting at home right now that we’re ready to dive into and I think seeing how well our prep worked for today will only help us prep for next week.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.