CUBA CITY – Darlington’s hopes for earning a share of the SWAL volleyball lead were spiked by the Cuba City Cubans at CCHS on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
The #3-ranked Lady Cubans (20-5 overall, 8-0 SWAL) outlasted the feisty Redbirds (12-6-1, 6-2) in set one, 25-23, and then rolled to wins of 25-8 and 25-17 to earn their sixth straight SWAL sweep. Cuba City ran that streak to seven matches on Thursday night with a 3-0 win at Boscobel.
“After a hard fought first set, Cuba grabbed the momentum and we were just never able to regain any kind of rhythm,” stated Darlington head coach Jennifer Schwartz.
The Redbirds came out ready to battle the Cubans at the start of the night. The lead traded hands nine times in the opening set and the foes were tied up on 13 other occasions until a spike kill by Cuba City middle hitter Brinley Wood snapped a 23 all tie.
Courtney Busch followed with an ace to earn the Cubans a hard-fought 25-23 decision in set one.
That outcome seemed to energize the Cubans and sap the ‘Birds. The hosts used a trio of extended service runs to build up a quick 19-4 lead in set two, and the Cubans jump ahead 2-0 with a 25-8 decision.
The Redbirds came out recharged early in set three and stayed right with the Cubans until a nine-point service run by Megan Hartl turned a tied match into a 16-7 Cuba City lead.
The ‘Birds got as close as six on a couple of occasions the rest of the set, but the Cubans held on to garner the sweep with a 25-17 win.
Senior middle hitter Kennedy Rankin, who had four kills and two blocks in the first set, finished the night with four kills and three blocks, while senior Chelsie Golackson chipped in with three kills and junior Roxi Reuter added two kills and five assists.
Gabrielle Steiner also had five assists with an ace, and Casey Glendenning added an ace for the Redbirds.
Darlington hits the road for SWAL matches at Boscobel on Thursday, Oct. 5, and at Southwestern on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
Darlington……… 23 8 17
Cuba City………. 25 25 25
Darlington Leaders– Kills: Kennedy Rankin 4, Chelsie Golackson 3. Blocks: Rankin 3. Aces: Gabrielle Steiner 1, Casey Glendenning 1. Assists: Roxi Reuter 5, Steiner 5.
At Cuba City on Tuesday, Sept. 26