WEST UNION — In the regular season, Clay-Battelle swept the Notre Dame Fighting Irish volleyball team twice. When the two teams met again last night in the Class A, Region II, Section 1 volleyball tournament at Doddridge County High School, the game once again ended in a sweep; only this time, the Fighting Irish did the victory honors.
ND defeated CB 25-16, 25-22 and 24-10 to shock the Cee Bees and live to fight another day while CB’s season came to an abrupt end.
“They kept saying ‘fight or flight,” ND coach Wendy Backus said.
“We had a nice talk before the game and I know the girls went out and had a meal beforehand. They really dug deep and pulled out everything they had.”
Bailee Yokum started off the night with three kills to help give ND an early 6-4 lead in the first set, a lead they refused to give up. The Cee Bees got within one point at 14-13 but a kill by Abigail Lanham helped ignite an 11-3 Fighting Irish run. Francesca Alvaro highlighted the run with a kill and a service point to help the Fighting Irish take the first set and set the tone for the rest of the match.
A service point right off the bat by Lily Currence helped the Cee Bees jump out to an early 9-5 lead. Yokum, who finished with a game high 13 kills, and Alvaro earned back-to-back kills to cut the deficit to two before the Cee Bees began to pull away. A kill by Hailey Carreon helped CB possess a 19-15 lead; then, the Fighting Irish stole the momentum. An ace by Acasia Johnson highlighted a 10-3 run to help the Fighting Irish take the second set 25-22 and put the Cee Bees in a deep hole.
“I’m assuming Notre Dame came into this game thinking ‘We’ve lost to this team already, what do we have to lose? Let’s go lights out,” CB coach Casey Rollins said.
“We tried to nail it in our girls heads that what happened earlier in the season doesn’t matter. Notre Dame is a talented team. Tonight, I think they showcased the best I’ve seen them play and it was during a time when it was necessary to survive another day.”
The Fighting Irish took the momentum from the end of the second set and rode it into the final set to put CB away. Yokum and Frosch opened the third set with kills to ignite a dominant finish to the match. The two kills gave the Fighting Irish a 3-1 lead and ND never looked back, cruising to a 25-10 win to end CB’s season and avenge their regular season woes against the Cee Bees.
After an emotional win and arguably the best performance of the year, celebrating wasn’t an option. The Fighting Irish immediately turned around to play Gilmer County, a team that swept the Fighting Irish the night before, just 30 minutes after the victory. The momentum carried into the GC game, as the Fighting Irish took the opening set 25-19 to make it four straight set wins against teams who previously swept them.
However, fatigue slowly began to set in.
As the game wore on, GC slowly began to take more control. In the second set, the two teams started out tied 6-6 before back to back aces by GC’s Taylor McHenry gave the Titans an advantage they didn’t surrender. With the Fighting Irish already trailing 13-9, the Titans went on a 6-0 run capped off by a kill by Lindsay Chapman to give GC a 19-9 lead, forcing Backus to call a timeout. ND came out and cut the lead to nine points, but a 5-0 run by the Titans ended the second set and tied the match at 1-1. The Titans went on to win sets three and four by scores of 25-17 and 25-22 to take the win 3-1 and end the Fighting Irish’s season.
GC advances to play Trinity Christian tomorrow night at 5:30
Notre Dame loses just one senior, Amy Frosch, while the rest of the team returns in 2019.
“We will miss Amy a lot,” Backus said.
“But I predict good things for this team next year.”