It took one more game than head coach Trish Flowers wanted, but the Cleveland Lady Raiders reached down and held off Rhea County 3-1 in volleyball action inside the CHS volleyball gym Monday night.
The Lady Raiders won the first two games by scores of 25-20, and 25-16 before dropping game three 25-22. Cleveland came back in game four to close out the match with a 25-17 win.
“I thought they came out and played really well the first set, but they laid down in the third. There are just a couple of things that we have to tweak in order to beat even better teams,” said Flowers.
“It adds a win to our record and I’m proud of the way some of our players played. We served well, and we’ve got to continue to serve well.”
Freshman outside hitter Emma Flowers had a big night for the Lady Raiders (9-3, 1-1 District 5-AAA) coming through with back-to-back-to-back-to-back kills to open the first game. Flowers ended the night with 24 kills.
Kellee Geren made it 5-0 with the first ace of the night. A kill by Geren and two aces by Kayla Lee put Cleveland on top 9-2. Addie Strode and Allison Botts got into the action with kills that put the Lady Raiders out front 15-6.
Kayla Lee had a busy night with 37 digs to lead the Lady Raiders. Lauren Lee finished with 15 digs, Geren and Botts each booked 14 and Flowers ended the night with 10.
Lauren Lee led the team in aces with 4, followed by Botts with three and Kayla Lee and Geren with two apiece.
The Lady Eagles fired back with six straight points before Botts stepped in with back-to-back aces that gave Cleveland a 20-13 lead. Another Flowers kill made it 27-17. Rhea battled for three more points before Cleveland closed out the win.
The Lady Raiders were forced to come back in the second game after falling behind 8-2. Sophomore Lauren Lee stepped to the line and served up 13 points including four aces and kills by Strode and Flowers that put Cleveland out front 17-8. Amber Morman put the finishing touch on the win with a kill to make it 26-16.
The Lady Raiders trailed the better part of game three and were never able to make up ground on the Lady Eagles, falling behind 14-9 and 21-14. Cleveland managed to close the gap late but fell 25-22.
The final game of the night saw the Lady Raiders jump to a quick lead. Cleveland built a 22-10 lead on the strength of a Geren ace combined with kills by Flowers, Morman and Morgan Moffett. The Morgan-Moffett combination came through with blocks to put Cleveland out front 24-11 before Rhea County rallied back with six consecutive points before the Lady Raiders put the game away with a Moffett kill.
“They were just keeping up (in game three). Against Girls Preparatory School last weekend we were down 14-7 in the deciding set and we came back and beat GPS. It’s happened twice this season where we’ve showed fight and heart. That’s something I feel we have always struggled with as a team. I feel we have more of it this year,” said Flowers.
“I hate to encourage arrogance, but I really feel we are going to have to step up and show a little more fight on the court, and believe we can do it. We don’t have to be arrogant, but we have to have swagger,” explained Flowers.
The Lady Raiders get back into their district schedule tonight with a road trip to Soddy-Daisy. The first serve is set for 7 p.m.