BURTON—Cardinal overcame the heat inside the Berkshire gymnasium and even shook off a poor performance in the second and fourth sets to defeat the Badgers, 3-2, on Tuesday.
The Huskies won the first set 25-22 then got smoked in the second, 25-8. They rallied for a 25-23 win in the third but fell to the Badgers in the fourth, 25-13. Cardinal won the decisive fifth set, 15-10.
“I thought my girls did a good job when we did get beat pretty good those two games in responding to the losses,” said Cardinal coach Karisca Chambers. “This game is always intense, whether one team is better than the other or they’re both evenly matched, it doesn’t matter. It’s always an intense game because it’s a rivalry game. Mentally, we were able to keep an even keel and pick ourselves up when we were down and that was very important tonight.”
Berkshire held leads in all five sets, including a six-point advantage in the first and a three-point lead in the third, but couldn’t finish off the Huskies in the odd sets.
“It was a typical Berkshire-Cardinal game and we expected nothing less,” said Berkshire coach Joni Prots. “Right now, we’re still a little too inconsistent and I think that showed in game one and game three where we had a little bit of a lead and lost it. The game to 15 is about who makes the least mistakes. Right now, that’s on us and that’s what I’ve been preaching to the girls pretty much all year that we have to be aggressive but smart. We have to know when to keep a ball in play and when to swing away.”
The Badgers held Cardinal standout Kaylee Klepper in check until the fifth set when she took over the match.
“That was huge,” Chambers said. “I actually talked to them in the circle before the fifth set and said this is the moment you have been waiting for since you were freshmen. Beating Berkshire on their home court, the last time you’ll ever play on here besides districts, I said this is huge. I told them I was looking to my seniors to step it up and I looked right at Kaylee and said this is your time and she stepped up.”
Klepper finished with 13 kills and eight digs.
Camille Cummins led the Huskies with 18 kills and 21 digs. She also recorded three blocks.
“CiCi is just a great all-around player,” Chambers said of Cummins. “What I like about her is she doesn’t get emotional. She just keeps the same energy all game, which is great. She doesn’t get rattled and she was consistent tonight. That’s what we needed against Berkshire.”
Faith Peters led the Huskies with seven blocks. Ashley Gubanyar and Taylor Soltis tied for the team high with 19 digs. Alaina Strever recorded 11 digs, Andrea Mack pitched in with three blocks and Haley Domen contributed to the win with 32 assists, eight digs and two service aces.
“Ashley Gubanyar, our libero, did a great job picking up some of the stuff in the back row and Alaina Strever and Haley Domen also did a very good job tonight,” Chambers said. “Faith Peters was a strong blocker for us tonight.”
Madison Chapman nearly matched Cummins kill for kill throughout the match. She finished with 16 kills, nine digs and six service points.
Delaney Tucek added 13 kills, 15 points and eight digs for the Badgers while Mollee Chapman recorded seven kills, five points and three digs.
“Everyone was doing what they needed to,” Prots said. “Obviously, we had contributions from everybody. There wasn’t just one person that was it for the match. They all did a good job. As soon as we learn to be consistent and limit our mistakes as much as we can then maybe that’s a match that goes a different way.”