A lot was on the line heading into Thursday night’s volleyball game between the Clarksville Lady Wildcats and the Rossview Lady Hawks.

Heading into the night, CHS was in first place in District 13-AAA. Rossview was in second.

The two teams are bitter rivals.

Clarksville hasn’t lost a set to a district opponent all season.

All of that came to a head at Rossview in a rematch of CHS’ 3-0 victory earlier this season – but this time, things were a bit different.

Clarksville won once again, but this time their foes did win a set and two of them were decided by three points or less. The final was 3-1.

“It’s always the toughest (game) no matter what the records are,” said CHS coach Glen Fox. “It’s a tough place to play here. It’s a rivalry game. They are much improving; they’re a young team, so they’re improving. That’s the first set we’ve lost in the district this year. Hats off to them, they’re getting better. We just need to go back and work on some stuff.”

Rossview started the game strong, taking an early 11-7 advantage in the first set and held the lead late before Clarksville eventually pulled ahead and snatched a 25-22 win.

The Lady Hawks were clearly disheartened at the start of the second set. The Lady Wildcats dominated and led 15-6, prompting Rossview coach Caitlin Lucas to take a time out. RHS went toe-to-toe with CHS for the rest of the set, but still lost 25-15.

“All year we’ve been working on keeping our energy up, and they’ve recognized it now by themselves,” Lucas said. “They recognized that they were feeling defeated even though the game wasn’t over. They decided to figure out how to fix it by themselves, and then they fixed it.”

Down two sets to none, the Lady Hawks knew that the next was do-or-die and played what may have been their best volleyball of the season in the third. It ended up being even closer than the first, reaching deadlocks of 11-11, 16-16 and 23-23. However, Rossview scored the final two points to claim the set win.

“For us, we’ve been working and trying to grow,” Lucas said. “It just shows that we have grown in the time between the first set (of the season) and then now.

“It’s a big confidence booster going into districts because we know we can do it, and we’re going to try to get better and then come back into districts firing on all cylinders.”

The Lady Wildcats finished the game off with a 25-13 fourth-set win.

Both teams seemingly got what they needed from the game. For Clarksville, it was a win and close-game experience leading up to the district tournament, and for Rossview, a first-hand look at how to topple one of the best volleyball teams in the state and a much-needed confidence boost.

“We were just challenged tonight, and it’s another time for us to step up to that challenge,” Fox said. “I still like our chances against anybody.”

Clarksville will wrap up their regular season on Thursday, Oct. 1 at home against Northeast. Rossview will finish up their slate with a pair of home games – one against Northeast on Tuesday, Sept. 29 and one against Kenwood on Oct. 1.

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