STEUBENVILLE - What a difference one day can make.
For the Catholic Central volleyball team, that one day made for a positive improvement. For Big Red, that wasn't the case.
Roughly 24 hours after suffering a tough loss at Edison, the Crusaders bounced back with a five-set victory over city rival Steubenville Wednesday inside the Crimson Center.
Steubenville saw its losing slide continue after falling to Indian Creek in straight sets the night before.
The now 2-1 Crusaders grabbed a 25-23 advantage in the opening set before falling 25-19 and 25-15. Sherri Barber's crew rebounded by collecting 25-18 and 15-12 wins, thus getting a leg up in the annual city championship series.
"It was huge," a jubilant Barber said of the victory. "It's been a while since we beat them.
"I'm really proud of my girls. We had the exact situation last night at Edison and we came out on the other end of it. That was hard. The girls played together as a team tonight. That's exactly what we need to do. We have to play as a team and we have to scrap."
On Tuesday, Central dropped a tough five-setter to Edison by scores of 16-25, 25-17, 11-25, 25-22 and 15-17.
As Barber noted, the difference between the two matches was all about serving.
"Never in my years of coaching have I seen such poor serving on our part as I did against Edison," she pointed out. "We are really good servers and last night, we served at best 40 percent and we were still in the game. It was just horrible.
"That was a big concern coming into this match. Serving is one of my go-to items along with defense and passing. For us to be successful, we need to get our serves in, play good defense and pass the ball well. We did that tonight."
Central was down 15-13 in the opening set before sophomore Brittany Bertoia served up an ace. She followed with five more points, putting the Crusaders ahead to stay at 19-15. A kill by senior Megan Lloyd finished off the Crusader victory.
Big Red, which now stands at 2-3, jumped out to an early lead in set two and cruised to the win. The winning point came on a block by junior Lysiah Rice. Lynn Meyer's team reeled off five straight late in the third set claim another easy triumph.
Set four was a back and forth affair. A kill by sophomore Rhiannon Petrisko pulled Big Red to within three at 20-17. Central sophomore Samm Simmons followed with a kill of her own and the Crusaders pulled away.
The hosts jumped on top 7-2 in the deciding set thanks to kills by Petrisko and senior Taylor Young. Kills by Bertoia and Simmons kept the Crusaders close. Barber's team grabbed a 13-12 lead and finished off the victory thanks to ace serves by senior Ashlynne Daley.
"We only had two serves in during one whole game last night," Barber stated. "That's just not like us. It was a mental thing. It's not that the girls don't have the skill, it was just mental. It's just huge to come back from that."
Meyer was simply "not happy at all" with her team's performance.
"We had 20 poor serve receives, 15 missed serves and hit 18 balls out," said Meyer who has watched her squad dropped three straight after opening with two victories. "Unforced errors just killed us. If you don't put the ball in play, you're not going to win.
"We bounced back nicely after the first set. We made some adjustments to the lineup and they seemed to work. But, we just didn't play well. I'm ready to go back to the drawing board."
Bertoia had a huge night for the Crusaders, who are scheduled to visit Martins Ferry today. She had 12 points, five aces, eight kills, three blocks and 14 spikes. Lloyd added 13 points, three blocks, 24 assists and two aces. Daley delivered six points along with two aces. Simmons contributed four blocks and 26 hits.
Anne Fischer had 10 points for the winners, Suzy Thibault nine and Fran Capaldi six.
For Big Red, which returns to action Wednesday with a home match against Wheeling Park, senior Annie Nehrbas had 17 points, seven kills, five blocks and six digs. Petrisko was credited with 16 points, six kills and four digs. Tenia Barker added seven points, four kills, five digs and two assists.
Young recorded 12 kills, two points and 10 assists. Rice had four kills and two blocks while Carlee Jenkins got six points, two kills and a block. T'Shai Smith paced Big Red with 14 assists. Lexi Biasi added seven and Izzie Biasi had 10 digs.
"Lynn has a great program" Barber noted. "I've been coaching with her from the very beginning. She helps me out a lot and is my go-to person. She does a nice job with her kids."