LINESVILLE — Non-region matchups lack some of the pizzazz as those with league implications. But Thursday night’s non-region tilt between Conneaut and Cambridge Springs was full of purpose.
The Lady Eagles, for one, were coming off a marathon five-set thriller against Region 4 rival Hickory and were looking to sustain momentum going into a big match next week against rival Meadville. Cambridge was also looking for a spark with a piece of the Region 3 championship on the line Tuesday in its match against Union City.
Then there was CASH star outside hitter Cassidy Snider. The junior needed just two kills against the Blue Devils to reach 1,000 for her career.
Snider got that 1,000th kill — loudly — early in the first set. And while the Eagles admittedly didn’t play fabulous last night, they, too, sustained momentum, sweeping the Devils 25-15, 25-15, 25-10. Now the Blue Devils?
“I don’t know,” Cambridge Springs coach John Turner said. “I can only do so much. It’s got to be them. We were watching each other way too much instead of playing the game. Our serving was horrendous. Our passing was horrendous; something we had been working on all week long. Maybe we shouldn’t practice and come in and play and we’ll do fine.”
Practice is actually what Turner is banking on to get the Lady Blue Devils prepped for Tuesday and beyond. Cambridge Springs heads to Cochranton on Saturday for a tournament. Turner said he plans to continue to make some tweaks to his lineup. Against CASH, he switched to a 6-2 offense in the third set and that did provide a spark. The match was just well in the hands of the Eagles by that point.
“There are a lot of things,” Turner said. “I’ve been moving the hitters around a little bit and I plan on working on it some more this weekend at Cochranton. (I) plan on doing it maybe against Union City and at the Maplewood Tournament. No matter what happens we’re fourth, Union City is first, Cochranton is second, Saegertown is third and we’re fourth. It doesn’t matter how it plays out from here on out. It is what it is. We just have to get better and get ready for districts.”
The Devils fell to 6-5. Conneaut is now 11-1 overall.
“We did what we needed to do to get the job done,” Conneaut coach Christine Krankota said. “Especially after that five-game marathon against Hickory. We wanted to come out strong and make a statement. We have a tough week ahead. We play at Meadville on Tuesday night on their Senior Night. And then we also play Saegertown here on our Senior Night. We wanted to come out strong and roll that momentum into next week, because we know next week is going to be difficult as well.
“We didn’t want to come in here and roll over and then have to regroup.”
The match did get off to a bit of a slow start for the Eagles. The Blue Devils came out strong and led 4-2. A hitting error and then a kill by Taylor Kersnick tied the game at 4. Snider followed with her first kill of the match — No. 999 for her career — to put the Eagles ahead 5-4. Conneaut never trailed in the match again.
Snider got No. 1,000 just a short time later to extend the Eagles’ lead to four (10-6).
“I was a little bit nervous at first,” Snider said.
Snider credits her desire to never be satisfied to her success.
“I’ve always wanted to get better and improve,” she said. “You can always get better and improve.”
Snider finished with two more kills in the set. She finished with 11 on the night, giving her 1,009 for her career. Kaylee Mattera and Kersnick had six kills each. Kersnick also had six aces, while Emily Bortnick and Maggie Reiser had four aces each and Jamie Decker three aces. Bortnick also had 25 assists and eight digs. Snider tallied eight digs as well.
For the Blue Devils, Brooke Myers led the way with five kills. Taylor Smith had 14 digs and Paige Verbanac 11 digs. Rachel Swanson passed up 15 assists.