CHADRON — Twice facing a one-set deficit, the Chadron volleyball team overcame both in rallying for a thrilling 19-25, 25-16, 13-25, 25-22, 15-8 win over visiting Gering on Thursday night at the Bird Cage in Chadron.
Trailing by two late in the fourth set, the Cardinals scored the final five points to even the match and force a fifth and deciding set. In that final frame, Chadron jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back in winning the sprint to 15.
“It was a hard-fought match,” Chadron coach Don Matt said. “We were sporadic a little on serve receive and serving, but showed good heart after losing two sets badly and coming back.”
Gering coach Craig Schadwinkel credited his Bulldogs for their strong play throughout the match, especially in the first and third sets.
“I thought the kids came out and were intense. They executed our offense and defense the way we’ve been wanting them to in the first set and they did it again in the third set,” Schadwinkel said. “But in these three out of five matches, you have to get three of them and we just didn’t do that. Overall, I was really pleased with a lot of the stuff I saw tonight.”
Chadron senior Ashlea Kerr led all hitters in the match with 19 kills. Kerr, a 6-foot middle blocker, also proved dominant for the Cardinals defensively by leading the team with three ace blocks and seven digs.
Chandler Hageman was right behind Kerr with 15 kills and a pair of ace blocks. Also for the Cardinals on the hitting front, Peyton Hinn put down six kills, Maaryn Davis added five, and Jadyn McCartney finished with three.
Jayden Garrett handed out 40 set assists to lead the Chadron offensive attack from her setter’s position. McCartney added four. McCartney and Davis also served three aces each.
Defensively for the Cardinals, Davis and Hinn supplied six digs each, while Garrett, Hageman, and McCartney all finished with four each.
Gering’s Kaylee Spreier powered the Bulldogs with 15 kills. Katie O’Boyle added eight kills, while Savannah Walker finished with six and Brooke Vowers had three.
The Bulldogs received solid play from both setters in their 6-2 offensive attack. Allie Boggs led the way with 21 assists and Kelsea Prieels added 13. Prieels also led Gering with two aces.
Defensively for Gering, Jade Riedel registered a match-high 25 digs. Vowers finished with 16, Walker had eight, Prieels added six, and Boggs had five. O’Boyle led the Bulldogs with seven blocks. Spreier finished with four blocks.
Schadwinkel emphasized that the Bulldogs must continue playing aggressively in order to close out matches when they have the chance.
“We sank back into that old habit of playing safe. When you’re playing a good team, you can’t do that. I really feel that was the difference,” he said. “Chadron stayed aggressive and forced us into some mistakes. We have to be ready to step up and put the ball down in those situations. Hopefully, we’ll learn from that.”
The win improved Chadron to 3-0 on the season. The Cardinals will return to action on Tuesday when they play host to Sidney and Bridgeport in a triangular.
Gering, now 2-4 on the season, will travel to Alliance on Saturday for the Bulldog Triangular against Alliance and North Platte.