Culver rallies past OD in 5

CULVER — With sectionals fast approaching, the Lady Cavaliers wanted to grab some momentum this week.
So far, so good.
Culver rallied back from a 2-1 deficit with wins in the fourth and fifth games to hand visiting Oregon-Davis a five-set defeat, 21-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-13, 15-12, at home Monday.
“We’ve been needing a win. It’s been awhile, and the girls knew that they could do that,” said Culver Head Volleyball Coach Amanda Minix.
“We’ve got three games this week, and we’re hoping to get three wins before we go into sectional. We’ve got the bye at this year’s sectional and it’s here, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Culver knew to expect a close match after falling to the Bobcats at the Oregon-Davis Early Bird Tournament early in the season, and Monday’s contest didn’t disappoint.
The Cavs took the initial lead in game 1 but gave up five straight points at the tail end to succumb to the Class A Sectional 51 foe Bobcats 25-21 before returning the favor by putting away the final five points of the second game for a 25-19 win. Oregon-Davis seemed to grab the match momentum with a convincing 25-16 win in the third game, but once again Culver battled back in game 4, grabbing an initial 6-2 lead and cruising to a 25-13 win. A pair of aces by Aspen Kitchell and five straight service points by the senior propelled the Cavs into the lead late in game five, and an OD misserve sealed the reprisal win for the home team.
“We knew tonight would be back and forth; we played them earlier in the year at the Early Bird Tournament over at their place and they beat us in three, and those three were close. The girls came in ready to go,” said Minix.
“They were getting on the floor tonight making a lot of good plays, hustling. We had a couple blocks tonight that we usually don’t have. For them to get down a game and then be able to come back in those last two, we had a couple good serves, and I told the girls we can’t let the other team get five or six points off one server like we have in the past. Tonight I don’t think we did. They got a couple, but we were able to fight back.”
Culver had a little help from OD in the final game as the Bobcats recorded three misserves, two attacking errors, four passing errors and a net violation to drop the game and the match.
“They’re fighting with each other on the court, and it’s hard to keep them going,” said OD head coach Tim Keyser. “We’ve got sectionals coming up next week, and we’ve got to get it together. I think a couple girls are just ready for basketball season, and they’ve just got it in their mind that they really don’t care right now.”
Culver was led by Kitchell’s six kills, three aces and 10 digs, and team-leading tallies of 12 kills, three aces and 18 digs by sophomore Samantha Howard.
“Same names as usual — Samantha and Aspen, those are our big girls that we go to,” Minix said. “The girls know that if we need a kill or a good serve, they know that those two girls are our big girls. They also help lead the team; they’re all over the floor, they’re obviously setters, they’re wanting every ball that they can get that they’re supposed to be getting.”
OD was led by Jessica Moore’s 11 kills, while Alysha Salyer recorded five kills, five aces and 16 digs, Ashley Taylor had five aces and 15 digs, and Lincy Jones recorded five kills with a match-high 24 digs.
“Lincy Jones has been very aggressive,” said Keyser. “She’s not real aggressive in the front row, but without her back row passing and trying to keep the team motivated —she’s been one of my really good people right now and just comes to work. She’s a good front row player. She had some trouble tonight, but she’ll come around.”
Both the Bobcats and the Cavs play in the Class A Sectional 51 tournament at Culver next week. OD will play South Central Union Mills in Match 3, while Culver will face the winner of Match 1 between Triton and Marquette Catholic in the second semifinal at the seven-team tilt.
(21-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-13, 15-12)
At Culver
Culver stats
Kills: Samantha Howard 12, Aspen Kitchell 6
Aces: Kitchell 3, Howard 3
Assists: Kitchell 10
Digs: Howard 18
Record: 7-17
OD stats
Kills: Jessica Moore 11, Lincy Jones 5, Alysha Salyer 5
Aces: Salyer 5, Ashley Taylor 5
Digs: Jones 24, Salyer 16, Taylor 15, Kendra Sauer 15
Blocks: Haley Collings 2