Times Staff Reporter
CLAY CITY -- Even the potentially crippling effect of dealing with a coaching change midseason couldn't derail the red hot start of the Clay City Volleyball team.
The Eels made the debut of new coach Cindy Gerber a special one, as they improved to 3-0 on the season with a clean sweep of Cloverdale on Tuesday night.
Clay City jumped all over the Clovers, scoring the first six points of game one, behind the service of Kelly McCullough. Cloverdale got within five late, but a charge, led by Lynsey Higgins' four kills, helped the Eels cruise to a 25-15 victory.
Game two was hardly such a cake walk.
In a game which saw monumental shifts in momentum, the teams battled back and forth in a contest which saw 11 ties and six lead changes.
Cloverdale went up by as many as four on two separate occasions, before Clay City battled back to go up 19-14.
The Eels didn't hold on to their momentum for long, however, as Cloverdale, aided by two clutch blocks by freshman Bradanne Toney, kept things tight, eventually resulting in a 24-24 tie.
Unphased, Clay City turned to McCullough, their lone senior to close matters. McCullough broke the Clovers' serve with a devastating kill, and finished them off with an ace, giving the Eels a hard fought 26-24 victory. New coach Gerber said she has already come to expect such an effort from her squad in her short time on the job.
"I knew going in this team is capable of an effort like that," Gerber said. "They've done it before, and I have no doubt they can do it again."
Such a valiant down-to-the-wire effort wasn't needed, in game three, as the Eels jumped out to a 10-1 lead, behind the service of LaKyla Cook and solid net play of Brielle Drelick. Cloverdale (0-4) never got closer than six, and the Eels completed their sweep in convincing fashion, taking the third game 25-16.
The outcome was particularly satisfying for Gerber, who has never coached volleyball before. She took the position after Ashley McCullough abruptly stepped down from the position right before the season. The Eels were coached through their first two games by Bradi Oberholzer.
Gerber said her transition was made easier by her team, who she said adjusted very well to a difficult situation.
"I think it was tough (on the girls)," Gerber said. "It's a rough situation, but they are playing though it well and I think things are going to be ok."
Despite her team's hot start, Gerber isn't ready to get complacent, and she says she is hopeful with each passing day, she and her team can continue to work towards getting on the same page, and seeing the Eels improve even further on their hot start.
"I hope we will continue to improve," Gerber said. "We are playing well, but there's room for improvement, and I think we can end up going a lot further.
The Clay City JV also earned a hard fought victory Tuesday, taking down the Clovers 25-16, 25-24
The Eels will return to action Saturday when they host the Clay City volleyball invite Saturday at 9 a.m.
At Clay City