Game Week Update: CU Ball Busters

Or should that be Busted Balls?

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3rd March 2024 – Game Week Update, CU vs. Auburn Montgomery Warhawks

Continuing our sports coverage of the CU team we turn now to the march held just this Sunday against the Montgomery team where a number of great plays made it a match to remember. For those readers new to the series, you can view the last article HERE or via searching for ‘Ball Busters‘ or ‘Volleyball‘ in our website edition.

Match Report

With the season’s highlight game for the squad up at Montgomery, Alabama, the Columtreal team arrived in full force; not only with full stands of fans but also a full cheer squad lead by Sarah-Michelle Buffy Gage to provide proper support. As it turned out, all the support would likely be needed, as according to the scout reports this would be one of the three most difficult matches of the season for the team.

The scouts were not wrong. For the whole duration of the season, the Montgomery champions had been showing nothing but perfection, maintaining a seven game winning streak much like the Columtreal squad. Praised for a great team chemistry and performing on a higher level than expected through the season it was something the two teams did have in common.

Warming Up

And so as the team Captain, Maya Flores for the Columtreal side and Jandice Smith for the Montgomery girls exchanged words and shook hands the highly competitive match was on! It was the Warhawks who swooped upon their prey without any time for the away team to gain any ground on their home turf. The first line dictated the pace with a highly effective trio of Garcia-Lopez-Johnson, delivering an almost unstoppable barrage of spikes into the centre of the court. When needed the Warharks were also able to call on a near impenetrable wall of blocks on defence, quickly ending the first set at strong 25-19 in Alabama’s favour.

Drumming up much needed support from the fans with the help of a few cheerleader routines on the side-lines, the Ballbusters were not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Restructuring the offensive tactics, the purple and yellow squad near abandoned spiking as an option. Instead they slowed the game down and crafted their way back into the game by long series of toolshots revolving around unlikely attacker Samantha Smith, typically known more for her extensive defensive effort. Before the Warhawks could adapt, the set was in the book at 25-20 for the Columtreal side.

Staying the Course

With the sets tied at one apiece, the battle of cheering fans and cheer squads brought some pep to the break and soon the two sides were back on the court. If the two previous sets were crafted on careful execution of tactics, the third one came as a fast changing positional battle as Smith and Flores ruled the scenery as true floor generals in the field. Alas it was to no avail for the Columtreal squad as the home team conquered the set again by a serious margin of 25-20.

Threatening to finish the Ballbusters and send them home, the Warhawks entered the field full of confidence. It was confidence well placed as the Columtreal squad once more found it difficult to answer the fast paced position battle, losing points on little miscommunications that the home team could capitalize on. Only when the set seemed to be lost did the squad find their footing, shifting Smith back onto the defence and putting Rachel ‘Rage’ Wesson on the forefront of the scoring machine. In seven consecutive points, the match returned to being competitive.

At a score of 25-25 the two teams seemed to be unwilling to let go however a little harsh landing cost the home team the presence of Anne Lopez with a wrist injury, leaving a hole in the defence of the Montgomery squad. Smith quickly exploited and finished the set 27-25, keeping both teams with a chance to sway the game in their favour in the final deciding set.

The Final Set

The cheer squads were at the forefronts. Drums. Clapping. Singing. Although the cheer squads were going strong, the two volleyball teams were however a little exhausted and although they were ready for the clash of the season, they perhaps all wished they still had extra energy in the tank.

As it turned out, no service came unanswered by the opposing team. At a score of 9-9, Columtreal’s Flores seemed to have decided to take charge, delivering three scoring points in a row pushing the game into a favourable 12-9 for the Ballbusters. The other side responded though and Maria Garcia came with a deadly spike into Columtreal field. Flores managed to recover the ball but was left on the field in pain with an apparent knee injury, ending the match for her and leaving the Columtreal team without one of their star players.

Before long the Montgomery Warhawks took the lead at 14-12 as the loss of the Captain visibly shook the ranks of the squad. One ball separated them from the leading position in the league when Flores unable to play, but hobbling along the line in her new role as floor general role gave the team a quick huddle talk. It seemed to work and the Wesson-Smith duo came in to pick up where Flores left it; turning the match 19-18. The victory was cemented for the Ball Busters when Wesson faked out and Smith delivered another of her highly valued tool shots.

With the game in the bag, CU now resides unchallenged in first rank of the Gulf South Conference. Will Captain Maya Flores make a recovery? And if not, will the squad be able to overcome this loss? We will see in two weeks when the Ball Busters face off against the Union squad.

Set Results by Numbers

Set 1: 19-25

Set 2: 25-20

Set 3: 20-25

Set 4: 27-25

Set 5: 20-18

Conference Standings After Week 8

PositionTeam(s)
1Columtreal Ballbusters
2Auburn Montgomery Warhawks
3West Florida Argonauts
4Alabama Huntsville Chargers
5Shorter Hawks
Union
Less Flames
West Georgia Wolves
Montevallo Falcons
Mississippi Choctaws
Valdosta State Blazers
Christian Brothers Bucs
6West Alabama Tigers
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