It was a packed house at Thursday’s rivalry match between the Strathmore Spartans and the Lindsay Cardinals.
As the Lindsay Cardinals stepped onto the Spartans court tensions were high as the two rivals each had something to prove. In last year’s matchup against the Spartans, the Cardinals were crushed 3-1. Not only Lindsay looking for redemption, they were attempting bounce back from Tuesday’s loss against the Corcoran Cougars. The Spartans; however, entered Thursday’s match with an impressive 2-1 record in league after a season of ups and downs and were hoping to continue their winning ways.
Prior to Thursday’s match the Spartans traveled to Porterville where they were able to top their host the Granite Hills Grizzlies by a score of 3-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The victory was not easy to come by as the Spartans narrowly took the first set with a final score of 25-21. Unfortunately, the Spartans could not harness the momentum of their first set win and fell to the Grizzlies, 19-25 in the second set.
Determined to take home another league victory the Spartans battled back in the third set and were able to overcome their foe with an impressive, 25-17 win. With success in sight the Spartans fought hard to secure their overall win in a tight back and forth match that resulted in another win for Strathmore as the final score stood at 25-19. After the win against the Grizzlies, the Spartans stood at a 8-16 overall record.
As fans from both Lindsay and Strathmore cheered on their players, the Spartans gave the Cardinals a quick out of bounds point. The Spartans continued to make mistakes giving the Cardinals the lead early on. However, the Spartans managed to close the gap after Lindsay’s safety Abby Fonseca was unable to defend the net, handing the ball over to Strathmore. The Spartans secured a three point lead after Strathmore’s Taylor Alkire managed a clean kill which forced the Cardinals to call a time out as Lindsay fell behind, 12-16. The Cardinals came back to the court and were able to score three points, however the Spartans refused to give up their lead as Strathmore took the first set in a 25-21 victory.
The Cardinals entered the second set with a renewed energy as they secured a three point lead early on. As the Spartans fought to defend the net the team was unable to block the Cardinals’ attack. After Strathmore’s safety Rosie Platas was unable to complete a save, Lindsay took a four point lead, 8-4. However, after a bad serve by Lindsay’s Janessa Martinez the ball was returned to the Spartans. With an 11-6 lead over the Spartans, it was up to Strathmore freshman Emily Kissick to make up lost ground. Kissick delivered as she managed to secure three points for the during her serve. Platas and her Spartan teammate Lucy Bennett managed an additional two points minimizing the Lindsay lead, 11-12. The teams traded off points for the remainder of the set but despite the gains made by the Spartans, Lindsay took the second set in a close 25-21 victory.
With their chance at another league victory in danger the Spartans played a fierce third set. Thanks to Plata serving the Spartans put a quick three points on the board. Strathmore continued to put up points managing a 6-0 lead over the Cardinals. Lindsay head coach Frankie Arguelles called a much needed time out. Coming back from the time out the Cardinals slowly began putting up points but continued to trail behind the Spartans by a margin of six points. After a tip by Kissick the Spartans took the third set in a 25-18 victory.
With a possible win still in their grasp the Cardinals put it all on the line as they opened the fourth set. However, the Cardinals could not defend their net as they handed the ball to Strathmore. The Spartans managed to take the lead but as the team began to tire the Cardinals flew in for the attack, cutting into Strathmore’s lead, 8-9. After losing the lead for the first time in two sets, Spartan head coach Jeromy Blackwell called a time out.
The Spartans took back their lead with the help of Kissick, who managed three points during her turn serving. However, as the game progressed the Cardinals eventually caught up to the Spartans trailing behind by a mere two points.
But as the pressure to win increased the Cardinals began to crumble. Try as they might to the Cardinals defense could not manage to keep the ball in bounds giving the Spartans an five point lead. After a bad serve by Strathmore’s Isabella Galang, the Cardinals finally were given an opportunity to score.
However, the Cardinals did not have possession of the ball for long as the Spartans tipped the ball over the net into unguarded Cardinal territory, after a serve by Lindsay’s, Maryah Garza. The Spartans solidified their win with a Kissick serve leaving the score at 25-17, Strathmore.
With their win over Lindsay the Spartans will progress into the playoffs as they face off against the Minarets on Tuesday, Nov. 10.