The Chadron Cardinals finished their regular season Tuesday night at home against Alliance. Despite staying competitive throughout, the Cards were defeated by the Bulldogs in five sets, 25-21, 19-25, 18-25, 25-19, 11-15.
(Video highlights are from Tuesday's game at home against Alliance)
After going a week without a match, the Cardinal volleyball team traveled to Alliance for the 2017 Pilfold Invite, where they placed third with wins against Red Cloud and Gering.
Despite winning their first match of the invite, Chadron Coach Blakelee Hoffman thought the team came out a little flat before ultimately winning in two sets 25-12 and 25-11.
The team then faced Alliance, suffering their first and only loss of the invite. Despite coming out strong and winning the first set 25-19, the Bulldogs were able to win the final two 25-18 and 25-23.
“The girl’s played so well against [Alliance],” commented Hoffman, “unfortunately they just didn’t come out on top.”
That’s one of those losses I wasn’t upset about at all,” she continued. “They played hard and did everything they could.”
The 1-1 invite record meant facing the Gering Bulldogs, who the Cardinals had not defeated in four face-offs this season, in a match to decide the third and fourth place finishers.
“Our girls were ready to win this one,” Hoffman said of the match. “Having played so well against Alliance, they were very confident in themselves, and they went into the [Gering] match with the mindset that they could beat them, and they played that way. They played really well.”
The match was settled in Chadron’s favor in three sets, with Gering winning the first 25-21 and Chadron taking the final two 25-23 and 25-21.
The wins at the invite moved the team to 14-20 overall with only one match remaining, against Alliance at home, in the season. But just looking at the overall record doesn’t give an accurate portrayal of the team heading into the post-season.
In fact, the team has won seven of its last 10 matches. According to Hoffman, some instability early in the season meant lineup changes which eventually became more and more stable. “Just having them work together and build that continuity…was big,” says Hoffman. “You can see the changes in their confidence level knowing that who’s out on the court is the right setup.”
Despite going 1-10 to begin the season, the Lady Cards didn’t give up and worked to improve. “They just don’t ever stop competing,” says Hoffman of the team, “and they know they’re better and that they should be winning, and that’s how they go into every match.”
Hoffman hopes the team has a better fate against Alliance at their match Tuesday. “If we can play well against Alliance…I think that will play to our advantage next Monday [at sub-districts].”
Sub-districts will be played Monday the 30th in Alliance.