BURTON—Berkshire lost its Chagrin Valley Conference championship to rival Cardinal during the regular season but the Badgers claimed an even bigger prize on Saturday when they defeated the Huskies 3-2 in Saturday’s Division III district championship match.
Cardinal won the first two sets 25-20 and 33-31 before the Badgers rallied to win the next three to advance to the regional tournament for the second straight season.
“It was a great match,” Berkshire coach Joni Prots said. “My girls never gave up on themselves even down 2-0.”
Berkshire and Cardinal played three times this season and each match went five sets.
“It’s always tough when we match up with Cardinal,” Prots said. “It came down to who could make plays in crunch time and today that was us.”
Cardinal led by as many as nine points in the first set as the Huskies took the early 1-0 lead in the match.
The Huskies also took a commanding lead in the second set before the Badgers rallied back to tie the set at 22-22.
Before it was all said and done, there were 12 lead changes and 12 ties in Cardinal’s epic 33-31 second set victory.
With their season hanging in the balance, the Badgers regrouped and won the next three sets 25-23, 25-12, 15-10 to punch their ticket to regionals.
“I told them between games two and three we just needed to keep playing,” Prots said. “I told them it was a three-game match now and we could win three in a row.”
Madison Chapman led the Badgers with 25 kills and also contributed with eight service points, two aces, four blocks and four digs. Delaney Tucek added 24 points, 11 kills, 13 digs and six aces and Julia Kastor finished with 10 kills, six points, five aces and two kills.
Berkshire improved to 16-9 on the year. The Badgers will play Applecreek Waynedale (22-3) in the regional semifinals at Barberton High School on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.
Cardinal closed out its most successful season in several years with a 21-4 record overall and a 14-0 mark in conference play.
“I’m proud of my girls,” Cardinal coach Karisca Chambers said. “I told them that whatever happens in districts is just a bonus to one heck of a season. Of course, we wanted it; we wanted that district title. Anyone who says they don’t care if they win a district title is lying. We wanted it. We just couldn’t finish.”
Despite the setback, the Huskies have a to be proud of in 2018.
They won the CVC Valley Division title outright, set several school records in the process and reached the district championship game for the first time in four seasons.
“I am without a doubt proud of these girls for making it this far and for working hard from start to finish,” Chambers said. “This was one of our more successful seasons and I’m sad to see it end. We did a lot of great stuff this year. We won the CVC outright and went 14-0 in conference play, Camille Cummins broke the kill record in one set, Kaylee Klepper broke the ace record and we made it for the first time in four years to a district championship game. These girls are so special and one of a kind. They set the tone for many years to come. Keep your heads high Huskies. This won’t be the last you see of a very successful Cardinal volleyball team.”
Haley Adams contributed to this story.