Clay Archer, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — With sole possession of first place in the Frontier Athletic Conference up for grabs Tuesday evening, Chillicothe came ready to play.
The Cavaliers, who entered the night tied with Miami Trace at five FAC wins apiece, ran away with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-16 sweep to hand the Panthers their second league loss.
“It definitely feels good,” senior Sophie Fulkerson said postgame. “We kind of had a couple of shaky games but we picked it up. To sweep a league team feels awesome.”
Fulkerson, per usual, led the attack. The dynamic hitter logged a team-high 10 kills alongside four aces and 17 digs. Her season totals now stand at 240 kills, 41 aces and 236 digs.
Behind their leader, the Cavaliers (12-7, 6-1 FAC) took a 4-3 lead after falling behind 3-1 in the first set. From that point forward, the game saw seven ties and multiple lead changes before Chillicothe eventually found some wiggle room, taking a 1-0 match lead with a 25-21 win.
The second started in a similar fashion. Miami Trace (7-7, 5-2 FAC) took an 8-2 lead but Chillicothe ripped off a 10-2 run, seizing a 12-10 edge. After the Panthers retook the lead with a 5-0 burst, Chillicothe answered with a 7-0 run to take a 19-15 advantage and control.
FRONTIER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE STANDINGS
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“We realized it was kind of just our own errors,” Fulkerson said of falling behind early in the second. “We just picked each other up and told each other that we believed in each other, and I think that was a crucial part of winning this game.”
After a 25-23 win in the second, the Cavaliers cruised to their 12th win this season in the third. Chillicothe took its first lead at 5-4 and never looked back, sealing the deal at 25-16.
The win marks the Cavaliers’ fourth straight win overall and their fourth straight league win. It also comes after a late-night four-set victory at Logan Monday … 25-12, 22-25, 25-20, 26-24.
“We had a really late game last night and I was a little worried about that,” Chillicothe coach Andrew Vitatoe said. “But I thought [the girls] adjusted and handled it well.”
Aiding Fulkerson in the stat book was Maleah Oney with seven kills and 10 digs, as well as Payton McBee with a team-high 17 digs. Stephanie Hirsch had 14 assists, Johanna Crawford passed out 13 of her own, Katie Conner had nine digs, and Emma Lambert finished with six kills and four blocks.
Chillicothe is back in action, once again in conference play, traveling McClain on Oct. 1.
“This game was a true momentum-changer,” Fulkerson said. “I definitely feel like, now that we know we have the ability to do it, we’re just going to go forward and win as many as we can.”