Cleveland’s Lady Raiders battled hard in a hostile volleyball environment Thursday before falling to Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans.
Cleveland rallied to tie the match in a fourth game, but fell behind in the fifth-game tiebreaker to lose. The final score was 25 -23, 17-25, 17-25, 25-23 and 7-15.
The setback drops the Lady Raiders to 15-6 overall and 4-3 in district play. Cleveland is 38-18 in games this season.
Coach Trish Flowers’ team will play in the Tennessee Tandem Tournament in Chattanooga this weekend with competition scheduled at GPS, Baylor and Ooltewah. Walker Valley and Bradley Central are also participating.
Cleveland is involved in pool play tonight, facing Oakland at 5 p.m., Red Bank at 6 p.m. and Sale Creek at 9 p.m.
“We knew coming into this match (with Soddy-Daisy) that it was going to be a fight to the finish” said Flowers. “We did some things better tonight than we have in previous matches, but we also struggled in areas that we don't normally struggle.
“I am really proud of our blockers,” the Cleveland coach continued. “We are going to continue working on this part of our defense. We proved that practice this week made a difference, but we had trouble in serve receptions. Soddy served well and we had 25 reception errors off their serves. That is where they got us.”
Flowers said her Lady Raiders are not discouraged in the least by this loss. “They played hard,” she said. “It is not going to help us for our players to start playing the blame game. We beat Soddy in three sets earlier in the season and every team is improving, including us. What matters is tournament time.”
Senior Kristen Pickett sparked the Cleveland effort with an ace, 18 digs, nine assists, 18 kills and a block. Ayesha Rock had two aces, three receptions, 24 assists and five kills, while Payton Tipton added an ace, 32 receptions, 16 digs and a kill.
Other varsity statistics include Brooke Miller with an ace, eight receptions and 12 digs; Kayla Gash had two aces, six digs, an assist, five kills, two blocks and one and a half block aces; Jessica Davenport added three aces, 17 receptions, 13 digs, five kills and one and a half blocks; Qetuwah Abdullah-Muhammed contributed two digs, two kills and four blocks; Courtney Whitlock had three receptions and Marissa Langford a block ace.