Rangers win in five sets over Watervliet

Published 7:42 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cassopolis’ Maile Barber goes up for a block against Watervliet Monday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Cassopolis’ Maile Barber goes up for a block against Watervliet Monday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

EAU CLAIRE — For the third time in two years, the Cassopolis volleyball team advanced to the second round of the MHSAA District tournament.

The Rangers defeated Watervliet 3-2 by scores of 16-25, 25-23, 11-25, 26-24 and 15-10 in the Class C District opener at Eau Claire Monday.

Cassopolis will now face Brandywine at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Eau Claire High School.  The winner will then move on to play the Bridgman/New Buffalo winner in the district championship Thursday.

Looking to build off momentum from the end of the regular season, Cassopolis struggled to get points because of miscommunication and hitting errors.

Down 14-9 in the first set, Cassopolis coach Demi Schrader called a timeout to talk things over.

Scharder then called another timeout down 19-13 in an attempt to settle her team down.  Unfortunately the Rangers ended up losing the first set 25-16.

Strong serves from senior Kaylyn Forrest and junior Kayla Rowan propelled the Rangers to a 7-1 lead to begin the second set, which forced a Watervliet timeout.

That lead then started to diminish to 10-8, which prompted Schrader to call another timeout. Watervliet had the opportunity to tie the game at 15-15 on its serve, but fell short as the serve hit the net.

Watervliet would eventually tie the set at 20-20, causing Schrader to call a time out. From there a back and forth battle ensued as both teams tied at 21, 22, 23.

A spike by junior Jami Suseland allowed Cassopolis to win the second set 25-23.

“We had a good second game”, Schrader said. “We came out slow in the first game so we were able to get it going in the second game.

Cassopolis’s momentum halted in the third set as Watervliet jumped out to a 7-3 lead, which swelled to a 12-5 lead before Schrader called a timeout to calm her team down.

The front trio if Rowan, Suseland and freshman Maile Barber seemed to not be able to get any key blocks and good spikes to swing the momentum back in the Rangers’ favor.

Watervliet continue to pile the points and won the third set 25-11.

After the third set struggles, Cassopolis looked to switch gears in the fourth set.

The Rangers did just that leaping out to a 9-4 lead. Quickly, that lead changed hands.  Watervliet outscored the Rangers 14-2 over the next 16 points to go up 18-11, causing Schrader to call two timeouts in the process.

Following the timeout, the Rangers responded going on a 13-6 streak of their own to tie the set at 24.

Capitalizing off a key Watervliet mistake allowed Rowan to deliver a nasty spike, which bounced off a Watervliet player and solidified a fifth set.

Cassopolis won the fourth set 26-24.

“We came alive in the middle of the fourth set,” said Schrader. “It seemed like we had given up. But then something happened and they decided they didn’t want to be done after today.”

With the crowd into the match, both teams felt the pressure of the fifth set.

Mistakes by both teams saw the score go back and forth until Barber heated up. Two key spikes by Barber put the Rangers go up 8-4 and cause a Watervliet timeout.

“She has come along this year being a freshman,” Schrader said. “When she is on, we are on.  But when she is off, we are off. You could see that a little bit today.”

The timeout was just what Watervliet needed and came back to tie it at 8-8.

The Rangers weren’t deterred, going on a 7-2 run and winning the fifth set 15-10.

“We shouldn’t have played five sets tonight,” Schrader said. “We got behind but I’m glad we pulled it out. Now we get the chance to redeem ourselves on Wednesday against Brandywine.”