Tri-State Christian Academy and Rising Sun High School put on quite a show for those in attendance at Thursday night’s volleyball match. The atmosphere was electrifying, the crowd almost deafening at times and two talented programs were hungry for a victory. But there could only be one winner and the Tri-State Crusaders worked for every bit of it, defeating the Rising Sun Tigers 28-26, 21-25, 30-28, 25-17.
Tri-State’s Skylar Klingler, the lone senior for the Crusaders, went on a service run, including back-to-back aces, to give her team a 16-10 lead and test Rising Sun’s grit early in the match. The Tigers were able to answer, taking a 21-19 lead when Anna Carder stepped up, generating two aces and two kills to put her team in position to win. The underdog Crusaders didn’t go away quietly though, capitalizing on opponent mistakes and taking game one.
Set two saw a Rising Sun team eager to come back with a vengeance, obtaining a 9-2 lead over the Crusaders. “A seven-point lead means nothing in a game like this” a fan noted— they were right. While the score leveled out and remained close, Rising Sun kept momentum on their side with powerful serves that had Tri-State players off balance and unable to make passes to generate plays. With several different players seeing the court, Rising Sun had the energy to stay on top and tie the match at 1-1.
Tri-State came out swinging (and serving) in game three, jumping to a 7-2 lead behind Baylie Thomas’ three aces and an Ashlyn Criddle kill. The Tigers found themselves trailing throughout the game and at 23-20, the Crusaders needed a pair of points to close out the set but that’s when things got interesting. Three massive kills by Carder and another by Courtney Mettee put the Tigers ahead 25-24, giving Tri-State a gut check. The crowd was on their feet— cheering as loud as they could and after five lead changes, the Crusaders were able to clutch a 30-28 win and go up 2-1 in the match. “Being loud and hype when we’re down just really helps us shake it off and say, we got this,” Thomas stated.
With the match on the line, Tri-State played a convincing game four, taking a 9-8 lead and never looking back— defeating Rising Sun 25-17 and securing the upset. Despite the Tigers best efforts, mistakes proved too costly in their home opening loss. Carder finished the night with a match high 14 kills, five aces, seven assists and two blocks while Mette contributed seven kills, seven digs and four aces. Maddie Weil dished out 19 assists for the Tigers while Katelyn Norman-Wilson led the defense with 10 digs.
Jules Harris amassed seven kills and two aces for the Crusaders while Thomas and Criddle finished the night with four and six kills respectively. Libero Tessa Davis led the defense with 12 digs followed by Klingler who totaled 9 digs and a block. Reflecting on the match, Davis was proud of her team’s communication and thrilled to get the win, “Rising Sun is a very good team… this was a big win for us tonight.”