By Garth Shanklin
Sometimes, the score of a game doesn’t do the game justice.
Late scores can pull teams closer than they actually were, while other times teams ease off early and don’t reach their full potential.
Looking at the final score of the Batavia Lady Bulldogs’ 3-0 victory over Felicity-Franklin on Thursday, Sept. 7 is a deceiving one, as the set scores tell a much different story.
Batavia swept the match three sets to none, but the match was much closer than that. The Bulldogs led 16-14 in the first set before pulling away for a 25-18 victory.
In the second set, Batavia fell behind early, only to score six straight points to lead 14-10. The Lady Bulldogs upped their margin to 18-14, only to see Felicity rally to tie the match at 19. From there, the teams traded points, with the Cardinals twice earning set point, only to see the Lady Bulldogs fight it off. Eventually, Batavia would win the second set 27-25.
Again, the third set started well for Batavia. The Lady Bulldogs fell behind 9-6, then scored 11 of the next 15 points to lead 17-13.
Felicity went on a run of their own, scoring seven points in a row to take a 20-17 lead. Batavia answered again, pulling even at 24. Felicity scored to set up set point again, but Batavia responded with three straight points to win the third set 27-25 and the match 3-0.
Felicity head coach Amber Lee credited her team for their play, which she said was one of their better games so far this season.
“This is one of the most solid games we’ve played yet this season,” Lee said. “The girls were playing as a team, they were talking out there. I think it just came down to those last few points, Batavia pulled ahead of us. The girls stuck it out until the end, they played hard.”
Thomas said the Lady Bulldogs entered the game a tad overconfident, despite the fact that the squad is dealing with injuries and forced to use a new lineup.
“They went in a little too cocky,” Thomas said. “We have injuries right now. Two of our main players are injured. This isn’t our normal lineup, and it’s something that was just sprung on us today. This is not our normal, adjusting to what is the new normal for the next two weeks will be something we have to work on.”
Like the Lady Bulldogs, Felicity is also trying to find a lineup that works, though injuries are not necessarily the reason for the search.
“Right now, we’re still building the team,” Lee said. “We have four seniors, but we have a lot of young players on the team. We’re just trying to mesh together and figure out what works best for the team.”
Thomas said the team’s win over Felicity was by no means a perfect victory, but credited the team for improving their play this season.
“Not our best,” Thomas said. “We’ve been playing a lot better this year. The freshman stepped up and took charge, and it’s good that they did.”
Felicity, meanwhile, has improved on the court technically as well, with their head coach noting improvement setting the ball.
“We did a lot better setting the ball up,” Lee said. “That’s something we were working on, getting the pass to the setter so our hitters can get a chance to hit. They’re doing a lot better. My libero’s working hard back there, she’s new to the varsity team and I really liked how they set it up. We had some good blocks in there too.”
Thomas credited the Lady Bulldogs’ mentality for allowing them to pull out the close win.
“They focused, and when it mattered they pulled through,” Thomas said.
Batavia has a few days off to get healthy before taking the court again. The Lady Bulldogs face Clinton-Massie on the road on Monday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., the first of three matches that week for the team.
Felicity, meanwhile, has a trio of matches coming up as well, starting with a road visit to Georgetown on Sept. 14 and along with a home tilt against East Clinton on Sept. 18.