STROMSBURG – The Cross County Cougars put on a show for their fans Tuesday night as they swept past the Class D-2 powerhouse and No. 1-rated Bruning-Davenport/Shickley Eagles, 25-23, 26-24 and 25-19.
The win moves the Cougars to 3-0 on the season, while the Eagles see their record fall to 6-1.
Even though it was a three-game sweep it was far from easy as Cross County head coach Autumn Capler shared after the match.
“BDS is just one of those teams that you can never relax, not even one second, because they are just so good,” said Capler.
Cross County found itself looking up at a five-point deficit of 18-13 in the first set and trailed the Eagles 15-9 and 23-18 in the second.
Capler said the team talked about what it would take to stay in the game with BDS.
“We talked about it all week and we knew for one that our serve receive had to be there and I think the girls really picked it up and did a nice job with it,” Capler said. “We have had only three games and in all three games we have been down at some point and this team just never gives up. The girls work their tails off and it is all to their hustle and their hard work.”
Both teams finished the match with 29 kills as junior Macy Kamler led the Eagles with 14 and junior Cortlyn Schaefer had 12 to lead the Cougars.
In the first set, down 18-3, the Cougars closed out the game with a 12-5 run. Schaefer had three kills and an ace serve in the run, while 6-foot junior Erica Stratman took away a lot of attacks by the Eagles with two ace blocks and finished the match with five.
Tied at 22-22, 5-foot 11 sophomore Chloe Sandell had an ace block and kill to put the Cougars within one point.
After a side-out, the Eagles failed to communicate on a pass and the Cougars took the first set.
The second set was much the same, only that BDS was within two points of tying the match at 1-1 with a 23-18 lead.
Stratman pounded a kill and Savannah Anderson served up three aces in four points to tie the game at 23-23.
A Kamler kill put the Eagles up 24-23, but the Cougars never hit the panic button.
A tip out on the Eagles and another serve-receive error made it 25-24.
On the next serve, senior setter Amanda Giannou got the ball to junior Talia Nienhueser who put the game in the books with her third kill of the night.
In the third set the Cougars went up by as many as five points at 14-9, but the Eagles closed to 14-13 on a double block by Mariah Sliva and Kamler.
The Cougars opened the lead back to 20-16 and went on to post the 25-19 win.
Capler said this year’s team has a lot more options at the net.
“Erica worked a lot in the off season and she is looking great, we are still working with Chloe (Sandell) quite a bit but she is really starting to come around and Talia (Nienhueser) is also doing well and Savannah (Anderson) also had a great night today,” Capler added. “It’s really nice to have more than one player to go to.”
Cross County had nine ace serves with Schaefer and Anderson at three each. The Eagles finished with eight as senior Regan Alfs led the way with six. Alfs also added eight kills.
The Cougars had seven ace blocks and Stratman led the way with five, while Kamler had a block and a half for the Eagles.
Cross County (3-0) will host Friend Thursday night.
Capler said a win like this is huge as the team heads into the rest of the season.
“It is huge. A team like BDS is unstoppable every year and to get the win just gives these girls all the confidence they should need going forward,” said Capler. “I’m sure we will see them again.”