• Keith Hjelle

Chargers Hang On to Win in Five Sets Over Earlham; Host Invitational on Saturday

It seems obvious to this observer that the WCAC is solid volleyball conference. If there was any doubt about that, it was dispelled last night. After going 5-0 in the Griswold tournament on Saturday, the Chargers stepped back into conference play against Earlham on the Charger's home court. The competition was stiffer than Saturday's, where the teams had a combined season record of 19-38 for a wining percentage of just 33%. Earlham, on the other hand had an 8-5 record overall and 3-1 in WCAC play coming into last night and it took a little while for the locals to get on track before winning in five sets, 25-22, 25-20, 15-25, 20-25, 15-13.

Falling behind, 6-0 and 12-3 in the initial set, the Chargers had to toughen up and put on a furious rally to take set one, 25-22. It was a wake up call, but apparently the alarm didn't go off, as the Chargers continued to struggle.

And that's the kind of night it was. Hard fought by both teams, with the Chargers falling behind in set two as well. Trailing at 12-7, ACGC rallied once again to take the lead at 16-15. Neither team could pull away, and late in the match the score was knotted at 24 before Kylie Young's kill saw ACGC take a one point lead and then finish the set at 26-24 with Olivia Laabs at the serve.

But things then went downhill. No more late rallies for the home team in sets three and four, as Earlham took both to tie the match at 2-2. Set three saw the Cardinals pull away from a 7-7 tie and dominate the remainder of the set to win 25-14. The momentum had gone to Earlham and the Cardinals capitalized on it in set four. The last Charger lead in the set was at 2-1, with the visitors eventually claiming the win 25-20.

It really didn't look good for ACGC, as not only had the team slumped, but so had the student section. A normally supportive and even raucous student body seemed very subdued even though the final set was about as exciting as it gets. Neither team was able pull away, with ACGC holding three 3 point leads, the last at 8-5. The set was tied eight times, and with the set shortened to victory at 15 points, eight ties is a lot of ties! As the set neared its conclusion, the Chargers trailed at 13-12, but scored the final three points to take the set, 15-12 and the match 3-2.

The statistics reveal that this was a five set match, as the numbers are much higher than the norm. The Chargers had 139 attack attempts, and totaled 50 kills out of those attempts. Chloe Largent hd a good night with 18 kills out of 34 tries, while Laabs had a double/double, as she recorded 13 kills to go along with 20 digs. Jadeyn Carrick had 9 kills and had a good night serving, going 15-16 from the line. The Chargers had 18 serve aces, led by Largent with 7 and Kylee Young with 4. Audrey Stowe again led in assists with 42, and Savana Fuller had 8 blocks, including 4 solos. "G" Hoover and Largent each had 16 digs, while "G" also went 15 of 16 from the service line. Some pretty impressive stats.

With the win, ACGC improved its overall record to 10-3 and its WCAC mark to 3-1. It wasn't its prettiest win of the season, but every victory counts the same. The Chargers will next see action in its own tournament on Saturday when it will host seven other area schools beginning at 9 AM.

Line Score:

Earlham 22 24 25 25 13

ACGC 25 25 14 20 15

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