WILLIAMSBURG Clermont Northeastern was the Southern Buckeye Conference’s only undefeated team last season. Williamsburg made sure the Rockets wouldn’t get to that point this year.
The Wildcats, despite a hiccup in the third set, defeated their conference foe 25-23, 25-23, 13-25, 25-17 Tuesday night. They moved to 4-1 with the win.
“We’ve been waiting for a whole year to do this,” Wildcats’ coach Shari McKibben said. “I have to give CNE credit. They played hard. They played until the end.”
Early in the first set, it looked as if this matchup wasn’t going to go the Wildcats’ way. Rocket senior Jenna Mummert and junior Katherine Kelley controlled the net and put the Wildcats on their heels. McKibben called a timeout with her team trailing 9-2.
The timeout seemed to work wonders as the Wildcats rattled off a 13-3 run to take a 15-12 lead in the set. The set moved forward, teams tied at 20-20.
Then, the Rockets made a small run to go up 24-21 before closing out the set.
“I reminded them it was their home gym and to play with pride,” the coach said. “I think they pulled on experience. Last year, we were so young. This year, we have a lot of experience on the court as far as how they gel and pick each other up.”
In the second set, for every small surge Williamsburg had, the Rockets made one of their own. The Wildcats did just enough to close it out though.
In the penultimate set, CNE, perhaps playing with the pride it has, regained its form from early in the first set. Coach Emma Keough reminded her team to take it one point at a time.
The Rockets heeded her words and extended the match to a fourth set.
In the final stanza with the score at 18-16, Williamsburg scored seven of the next eight points to take the match.
“In the fourth set, we stayed on offense, not defense,” McKibben said. “We controlled and played our game. Our game is power, attacking, blocking and being strong at the net.”