Cardinals top Eagles using aggressive play
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — Pacelli volleyball plays at its best when they play aggressively at the net. That was the game plan heading into a CWC-South matchup with the Almond-Bancroft Eagles on Oct 4. The Cardinals swept the Eagles 25-19, 25-19, 25-11. The second set was the difference in the match.
It was a competitive start to the match by both teams. A 7-7 tie forced each side to turn to their big hitters to make plays. Casey Vaughn, Ava Olds, and Laine Ilka used the sidelines to their advantage to pound home points for Pacelli. Mya and Lexie Dernbach countered Pacelli’s attack for Almond-Bancroft. The Cardinals held onto a 14-12 lead, turning to 19-13, forcing an Eagles timeout. Almond-Bancroft took the Pacelli punch and hung in for a majority of the set. After the timeout, junior Grace Auer made a booming block that put the Cardinals up 23-17. Ilka followed that up by laying the hammer down, eventually winning the first set.
“We stayed focused on a very emotional senior night,” head coach Roy Danforth said about taking control in the first set. “We had fun, and we played volleyball like we can.”
The Eagles went into the second set trying to contain Pacelli’s attack. Almond-Bancroft threw bodies at the net, blocking multiple shots early and taking a 6-2 lead. They sustained a 14-10 lead before the Cardinals started charging back, tying the game at 14-14. A 8-4 run ensued, which was the difference maker. After being down, Pacelli showed grit to take a 2-0 lead over Almond-Bancroft.
“We did not give up. We got behind in the second set there and didn’t fold,” Danforth explained. “It was great leadership by our seniors and everyone. I’m very proud of the team.”
After a big second-set win, Pacelli never looked back. The Cardinals slammed on the accelerator and led 9-3 early. They extended that lead out to 21-7, ending with a 25-11 win after a double-hit by the Eagles.
Pacelli only has two regular season matches left but looks forward to the playoffs. Danforth simply stated one thing.
“We want Columbus,” he said. “We want to get back there.”
The Cardinals lost to the Dons in the 2021 regional final game. If you have other local sports stories, contact me at [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter at JacobHeid_15 for updates on local sporting events.