Farmington Volleyball Team Handles Berryville In Four Sets
FARMINGTON — The Lady Cardinals never allowed a talented Berryville team to come close in two games while taking a four set, 25-15, 24-26, 25-9, 25-21, conference victory Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Farmington coach Mike Howard had his team wellprepared for an opponent returning several players from a District 4A-1 tournament championship a year go. In 2017, the Lady Bobcats swept Farmington at Cardinal Arena, but that appeared an obscure memory in the minds of the Lady Cardinals.
“We kind of knew some of their personnel coming in, we knew what they like to do, what they did really well; and we tried to put some pressure on them, exploit their weakness and stop their strengths,” Howard said. “Our girls, I can’t say enough about them. They do so well listening to what I tell them to do and executing the game plan to a T. We had a little lull there in the second set where it went back and forth. We led for most of it, but there at the end it got a little tight and they (Berryville) ended up winning 26-24; and then we pushed through the third and fourth set decisively. They played aggressive, when we play aggressive and excited we play really good volleyball and that was exciting to watch.”
The Lady Cardinals led 8-5 in the first set when senior Alexis Cates collapsed after pounding a kill. Farmington had to overcome her injury.
“Nobody wishes for that against anybody,” Howard said. “Our senior leader, Alexis Cates, one of our middles, went down. Her knee felt a little funny. She collapsed so we took her into the training room. Our trainer looked at her. When I came out we had our sub in. I called time-out just to settle the girls down because I knew that emotionally that they were (concerned).”
The Lady Cardinals responded to their coach and never let Berryville take advantage. Howard sang praises of maintaining good flow with a key player out.
“She’s a senior leader, she plays hard every day, and she comes to work every day in practice, so I knew that they were going to be worried about her,” Howard said. “But we got settled back down there. We won that first set, and never really looked back.”
Farmington led 23-9 after back-to-back aces from Brittany Pittman. Berryville tried to sneak back into the game with libero Kelsey Smith serving four-straight points, only to watch Addison Fenton end the rally with a big kill giving the Lady Cardinals game one, 25-15.
Farmington battled back from a 23-20 deficit to tie game-two at 24-all. Berryville then scored the final two points. Taylor Swofford delivered a kill off a good set followed by a Farmington hitting error.
With the match tied at one game apiece, the teams were trading points early in game three before Farmington broke away from a 7-7 tie with a 10-0 run climaxed by the trio of Kally Stout (dig), Eliza Ball (set) and Charlie Holder (kill) working the offense. Berryville broke the run with Lilly Compton setting for Maryn Jones’ kill to make it 17-8. Farmington finished the game with an 8-1 run to win easily, 25-9.
Farmington jumped ahead 20-12 in the fourth set, but Berryville made the Lady Cardinals earn the win closing to within, 22-19, with a 7-2 run. Farmington reached match-point on Kaylee Purifoy’s soft kill, and after two straight points by Berryville, prevailed 25-21 on another Purifoy kill.
The noise factor coming from an exuberant bench played into fueling Farmington’s momentum down the stretch. Howard said the Lady Cardinals feed off that.
“My girls, this team, forever and always will go with the emotion of the bench and the people on the court,” Howard said. “If everyone’s playing down or being upset or being quiet, we’re not going to play very well, and they know that. When we get excited, we start cheering on our friends, people that are out there and then they sub in, sub out, the energy never drops and that’s exciting to watch and I think that the fans here in Cardinal Arena got a show tonight.”
Farmington volleyball players celebrate an ace during a 4-set win over Berryville on Sept. 18 at Cardinal Arena.