When Bloom-Carroll hosted Amanda-Clearcreek in Mid-State League-Buckeye Division volleyball Tuesday, the match featured two of the area’s top individual talents.
The Bulldogs’ Taylor Hughes was a second-team All-Ohioan in Division III in 2012, and the Aces’ Kacee Salyers was a third-teamer. Although Bloom-Carroll won a close 25-12, 25-15, 20-25, 25-23, 16-14 match, neither player disappointed.
Hughes had 16 kills, 22 assists and eight blocks. Salyers 25 kills and was a catalyst for Amanda-Clearcreek’s comeback after falling behind two sets.
“Bloom-Carroll is always a mind-set game for us,” Aces coach Cindy Bennett said. “I just told them they had nothing to lose. We needed to give them as much as we could give them and we did. I’m pleased with our girls.”
The Bulldogs (13-1, 9-0) won the first two sets. The first was back-and-forth early, but the Bulldogs’ 15-2 run turned a 9-8 advantage into a 24-10 edge. The only two points during that run for Amanda-Clearcreek (13-4, 7-3) came on kills from Salyers. Bloom-Carroll controlled the second set throughout.
“They did a good job of taking us away from what we like to do, but eventually we got back to it,” Bulldog coach April Redding said. “When we got our composure back and started hitting, that’s when we were successful.”
In the third, the Aces came alive. Bloom-Carroll, ranked No. 11 in in the latest Division II coaches poll, took a 3-0 lead but Amanda-Clearcreek fought back, scoring seven straight including five on Salyers aces to give it its first lead of the night.
“Kacee is great, absolutely just a wonderful player,” Redding said. “She just keeps going, she is tough. The first two sets they didn’t go to her enough, and we’ll capatilize on that decision.”
In the third set alone, Salyers had six aces, nine service points and six kills, including the deciding point.
The teams played a tense fourth set that saw the Bulldogs and Aces tied at 14, 16, 19, 20 and 22 before Amanda-Clearcreek forced a fifth set.
Although the Aces never led in the final set, they never quit. Down 14-9, Amanda-Clearcreek rallied with five consecutive points, including two aces from Mallory Rennard and two kills from Salyers to push it to 14-14. Bloom-Carroll finished it off, punctuated by Samantha Hurdzan’s 13th kill of the night.
“I wish they would have come out (to start) like they did the third set,” Bennett said. “I think if we would have started off a little better we could have given them more of a run and we gave them a run already.”