CLOVER — The Clover High School volleyball team won the first two sets of its closely contested match against York last week before losing the final three.
Final scores for the Lady Blue Eagles were 25-10, 25-17, 20-25, 23-25 7-15.
Highlighting Clover’s stellar play in the first set was aggressive service by Sam Mahal and Katie Robinson. Emily Robinson’s shot reject midway through the set had game-changing impact.
With York having the upper hand in the early stages of the second set, the Lady Blue Eagles became the aggressors.
Consecutive kills by Mahal and Telliya Patton tied the score at 9-9 and Maggie Ballard’s serving ace pushed the CHS girls ahead 10-9.
Moments later, Patton made her presence felt, rejecting a Lady Cougar shot at the net and spiking the ball for a 15-11 Clover lead.
The Clover team also had steady service from Blake Wallert during the flurry of activity midway through set No. 2.
Though the home-standing York team threatened to close the gap, the Lady Blue Eagles were equal to the challenge down the stretch.
Natalie Darling and Logan Richardson led the charge, Darling with a spike and Richardson with a timely shot rejection at the net as Clover prevailed, 25-17.
The third set was back and forth until the YCHS girls were able to pull away down the stretch for the 25-20 win.
Robinson and Patton had spikes in the early going, with Robinson’s kill keeping Clover within striking distance.
The fourth set was fiercely-contested, with York prevailing by a scant two points.
Well-placed serves by Emily Robinson were vital to the Lady Blue Eagle cause in the early stages.
With the score knotted at 14-all at the midway point of the set, Katie Robinson’s soft kill pushed Clover ahead 15-14.
Later, with York leading 16-15, Katie Robinson delivered a backward spike that caught the attention of the Clover fans in attendance.
Katie Robinson had another spike moments later to tie the score at 18. Richardson’s second shot rejection of the set and third of the match kept the Lady Blue Eagles within striking distance.
Emily Robinson’s kill pushed Clover ahead 23-22, but the Lady Cougars scored the next three points for the win.
With the teams playing for 15 points instead of 25 to decide the fifth and final set, the Lady Cougars held on for a 15-7 win to clinch the match.
Patton, an offensive force throughout the match, had another kill and teammate and Emily Robinson delivered a beautifully placed finesse shot at the net, but it wasn’t enough to overcome York’s lead in the final set.
Lady Blue Eagle head coach Tamara Jacobus commended host York’s play following the grueling marathon match.
“York deserved to win,” said Jacobus. “They played well and had a great crowd.”
While the Lady Blue Eagles finished the season with nine wins and 15 losses, the first-year CHS coach said she feels the groundwork has been laid for future success.
Jacobus lauded the players for their commitment.
“Our players, especially the seniors, made the transition easy for me,” she said. “I am learning the dynamics of Clover and look forward to continued improvement in the program.”