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Rivalry Excitement Returns As Titans Sweep Knights In Volleyball

Hidden Valley’s Jahnvi Patel (left) blocks a shot past Cave Spring’s Hannah Smith (#11 at right) Tuesday night during the Titan’s 3-0 win. (Bill Turner photo).


Cave Spring-Hidden Valley volleyball is once again on a crash course.

It’s been three years since a Cave Spring-Hidden Valley volleyball match had brought so much excitement to a Southwest County showdown.

Big crowd? Yep. A lot of anticipation of mentor vs. former player? Oh, boy. Torrid kills? You bet. Spectacular shotmaking? On the mark. A little mayhem? Let the student sections answer that one.

It all came together Tuesday night in the Cave Spring gym as a long-time state championship coach faced off against one of her former players. Nobody left disappointed although Hidden Valley and head coach Carla Ponn pulled off the 3-0 sweep against first-year Cave Spring coach Kylee Beecher, a front line mainstay for Ponn and the Titans over a decade ago.

And, while the score will always say 3-0, anyone in the gym knows that score was much closer than most will ever know.

“I’ve gone up against a bunch of my former players who became coaches,” Ponn admitted with a chuckle when asked about facing Beecher. “It makes me nervous. Cave Spring is a very good team. They came at us with a lot of tenacity and character. It was fun. Kylee has turned their program around. She’s one of my kids and I’m really proud of her.”

The first set was a nail biter. The two teams swapped points through 11-11 before Cave Spring looked ready to take control, going up 18-14 in part to a laser by Knight junior Taylor Robertson and a kill by senior libero Kylie Angel. The Titans closed to within 19-18, but Cave Spring surged to a 23-19 lead before Hidden Valley reeled off 4 straight points to knot things at 23.

Cave Spring senior libero Kylie Angel prepares to serve for the Knights Tuesday night in the Cave Spring gym. (Bill Turner photo).

Cave Spring got to set point on a Robertson kill, but the Titans responded to tie it. Robertson again sent the Knights to set point, but Titan senior Jahnvi Patel answered with a kill to keep the set going. After another point swap, Hidden Valley sealed the win after an errant Knight serve and a Patel ace down the middle for the 28-26 final.

Set two stayed close throughout, with ties at 17, 20 and 21 before the Titans exploded to score the final four points to win 25-21.

The final set had Cave Spring up 15-12 and 17-14 before Hidden Valley went on a 6-0 rally to lead 20-17. The Titans pushed the set to match point at 24-20 before trading scores, including the match winning block by freshman Cam Davenport for the 25-21 victory.

Meg Coolbaugh led Hidden Valley with 10 kills and 8 digs. Sawyer Freeland blasted 9 kills past the Knight defense. Frannie Sine set the table for the Titans with 20 assists.

On the Cave Spring side, Robertson slammed down 22 kills and brought up 8 digs. Angel had 13 digs from the hardwood and senior Hannah Smith posted 17 assists.

Bill Turner

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