CLEAR LAKE – If ever a volleyball team was poised to turn the corner on its season, it is Clear Lake during the past couple of weeks, but they haven’t quite been able to get over the summit and win a big match.
For the second time in 10 days, the Lions took a home match right to the edge of success and fell short in a tough 3-2 loss to Crestwood on Thursday.
Set scores were 15-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-23 and 15-12 in favor of the Cadets.
“I am proud of the way the girls keep showing up and getting better each night,” Lions coach Richie Ellis said. “They played their tails off.”
With the exception of a few minor miscues, Clear Lake did everything right except win on Thursday.
In what was probably their best play of the season, the Lions dominated the first set with excellent passing, solid setting and aggressiveness at the net.
The second set, though, become emblematic of the way the night would finish for the Lions, as Clear Lake spotted Crestwood a huge lead before storming back but ultimately coming up short.
The Cadets led 16-6 at one point before the Lions tied the set at 17, only to see Crestwood pull away late.
After Clear Lake took a 2-1 lead with a solid win in set three, that pattern established in set two would repeat in both the fourth and fifth sets.
Julia Merfeld again showed the makings of growing into one of the better setters in the area as the Lions offense put together one of its better attacking efforts thus far.
Delaney Eden and Mikayla VanderPloeg had the challenge of squaring off against 6-foot-3 Sharon Goodman for Crestwood, and the Clear Lake pair more than held their own in the matchup.
Clear Lake (2-10) will look to pick up the elusive victory that Ellis believes will spark the team to a solid conclusion to the season on Saturday when it will play five matches in the Lake Mills tournament.