Middlefield OH- The (5-6) Cardinal Huskies played host to their cross-town rivals, the (7-3) Berkshire Badgers as the two CVC opponents renewed their long storied Kinsman Cup rivalry for the first time this season. The two will meet at Berkshire High School on October 5th.
The Badgers and Libero Katelyn Miller served first. As Miller sent the serve over the net, Natalie Soltis passed it back as Hayley Stoddard fired up her team and the Berkshire student section with an emphatic kill to open up the set.
After a bit back and forth had the crowd into it for both sides. Lizzy Lucariello denied Maddie Smetana's spike attempt, giving Cardinal an early edge.
Both teams continued a back and forth battle, the Badgers began to gain some breathing room, taking the lead. A wild 40 second sequence finally ended on a Maddie Smetana kill, despite the good contest from the net, bouncing off the top and over the block attempt from Ali Puruczky and on to the Huskie side of the net, putting the visitors up 8-6. The electric back and forth sparked a a big time Berkshire run.
The Badgers exploded for a 17-9 run by a number of Kirsten Shaffer kills and Huskie hitting errors. Capping off the set win and run, was once again a kill from Maddie Smetana. She was set up on a nice pass and assist from Marissa Rish.
Natalie Soltis and Cardinal served first in set two, as the Huskies were down one set to none. Her serve scaves the net, and drops for the Huskie score. A good start for the home team, Cardinal taking a lead behind kills from both Ali Puruczky and Maggie Grant, and now leading 6-5. But the Badgers stormed back quickly finding themselves in the lead off the back of a Hannah Hutchinson kill to put them up 9-6.
Another tightly-contested set, as Berkshire was clinging to a one-point lead. Jill Smetana would add to it, her kill led to 11-9 Badger lead. The Huskies ended up falling behind by 4, but Puruczky would collect another kill to hault the Berkshire momentum. A highlight dig from Katelyn Miller, set up Hutchinson with an assist to Smetana for another kill.
Another Badger run would put them up 22-15 in the process Smetana picked up another kill, Lizzy Lucariello would trim the lead with a kill of her own. Despite a good Huskie effort, Kirsten Shaffer would slam the door on set 2 with her set-winning kill. Badgers win set 2 25-18, now with a 2-0 lead.
Hayley Stoddard opened up the next frame with a kill, this being followed up by another one from Hutchinson. Despite the momentum plays Cardinal would find themselves on the high-side up 6-4, Berkshire would blemish the lead after yet another continuous back and forth possession, Marissa Rish with an all out save, later coming back with the assist to Maddie Smetana's kill.
Despite all that Cardinal continued to lead set 3. Forcing a Berkshire timeout, but they'd climb back to tie it at 9. The Huskies respond, taking a four-point advantage off Jillian Smetana spiking one out of bounds. Both teams continued going back and forth before the Huskies created some breathing room, trying to hold onto to their slim four point lead at 19-15. Berkshire continued to fight, forcing a timeout after Shaffer's kill that cut into the Huskie lead. That kill and Morgan Csontos slipping before a hit attempt, aided the Badgers into tying the set at 21. A Rish hitting error put the Huskies back in front, but Berkshire would even the score back up. Jillian sent other spike out of bounds, putting Cardinal at 23, two points away from a set win to continue the match. A resilient Badger team took a 3-0 run to end it. Stoddard's tip tied it at 23.
The Berkshire defense shined late as well, Maddie Smetana and Hayley Stoddard combined for a block, Smetana did the honors with a tip of her own to seal it.
The Berkshire Badgers improved to 8-3 on the season and will venture to Orwell to face off with the Grand Valley Mustangs on Thursday. The Cardinal Huskies drop to 5-7 on the year and will take a bus ride to Mantua for a matchup with the Crestwood Red Devils on Thursday.
Berkshire Badgers stats:
Maddie Smetana- 17 kills / 12 digs
Marissa Rish- 7 kills / 26 assist / 12 digs
Katelyn Miller- 2 aces / 20 digs
Kirsten Shaffer- 12 kills