CARROLL — Amanda-Clearcreek made life more difficult for Bloom-Carroll’s volleyball team Tuesday than any other Mid State League-Buckeye Division opponent this season.
Still, the Bulldogs persevered.
Bloom-Carroll lost its first MSL-Buckeye set of the season but beat the visiting Aces 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20.
“I’m so proud of them. They played with so much heart,” Aces coach Cindy Bennett said. “They were hoping to take it a little further than one set, but it was close the whole way.”
The Bulldogs (18-3, 13-0) won their 27th MSL-Buckeye match in a row and clinched their second consecutive league title.
“I feel good,” Bulldogs coach April Redding said. “We’re undefeated in the league. In all honesty, the no-set lost (goal) kind of created itself when we were halfway through the season and hadn’t lost a set. I wish more games would have been more competitive, because it only helps us prepare for tournaments.”
The Aces (13-5, 10-3) were the first Ohio opponent to score at least 20 points in every set against the Bulldogs this season. Bloom-Carroll started strong with large leads in each of the first two sets, only to have the Aces come back. After falling behind 17-6 and 23-13 in the first set, the Aces went on a 9-1 run to get back in the game before the Bulldogs rallied to win it.
In almost identical fashion, the Bulldogs led 18-7 in the second set before Amanda-Clearcreek stormed back to eventually tie it at 22. But the Bulldogs finished with three straight points, punctuated by a Taylor Hughes’ kill for the win.
“That’s always what it seems to be,” Bennett said of the early struggles. “‘We can’t be getting down by that many. But I said ‘Why can’t we start the way we finish?'”
The Aces avoided an early hole in the third set and won it. The players celebrated being the first team to win a set from the Bulldogs in 39 MSL-Buckeye tries. But Bloom-Carroll rebounded to win the fourth set and take the match.
Redding said the Bulldogs were not making Amanda-Clearcreek work hard enough on defense and were hitting to the same place. After varying their hitting more later in the match, the defense opened up, she said.
“We’re not playing our best, but we’re still winning,” Redding said. “Not a lot of teams can have an off night and walk away with a win.”
Taylor Hughes led the Bulldogs with 18 kills, and her sister Cassie added 16. Haylea Vanscoy chipped in 20 assists, and Logan Stevens had 22 digs.
Alana Smith had 15 kills and five blocks to pace the Aces, and Kacee Salyers had 12 kills and five blocks.