EL DORADO – The El Dorado volleyball team played host to the Buhler Crusaders and Winfield Vikings on Tuesday in an AVCTL-III triangular. In their opening match against Buhler, the Wildcats could never get on track, falling 2-0 (25-13, 25-16). But they responded very well in their next match by taking down Winfield 2-0 (25-15, 25-19) and earning a split on the day.


"We actually played as a family in the second match," El Dorado head coach Alyssa Rawlings said. "We really don’t get down too often, and attitudes are really strong which is a benefit we haven’t had in the past."


Buhler 2, El Dorado 0


The Wildcats stayed close in the early going of the first set and trailed 10-9 before the Crusaders went on a 7-0 run to go up 17-9. The Crusaders got the Wildcats off-balance with their serves and set up opportunities for senior Hadley Waldren to finish off points with powerful kills. They rolled to a 25-13 win in the first set.


The second set was more of the same; El Dorado once again trailed 10-9 before Buhler pulled away. The Crusaders continued to play strong at the net and consistently found holes in the El Dorado defense. Buhler took the second set 25-16 to claim a 2-0 match victory.


Buhler would go on to defeat Winfield in the second match of the night, 2-0 (25-23, 25-14).


El Dorado 2, Winfield 0


The Vikings had just come off the loss to Buhler where they had the Crusaders reeling a bit in the first set before falling late. Buhler dominated the second set and now Winfield had to turn around and face the hosts.


The Wildcats, well, they were much sharper in every facet from start to finish. Behind the serving of junior Sydney Burns, El Dorado jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, forcing a Viking timeout.


The run would continue as the Wildcats built a 13-5 advantage. Winfield fought back to within 14-11 but then were doomed by a series of hitting errors and clean play from the Wildcats, who outscored the Vikings 11-4 the rest of the way to take the opening set 25-15.


El Dorado carried that momentum into the second set, quickly going ahead 6-2. The Vikings would chip away to tie the match 12-12 and subsequently take a 16-14 lead. But the Wildcats came back with a 5-0 spurt to take a lead they would not relinquish. They got great hustle from senior Jamison McCaig, who dove on the court to keep several points alive and the hard work seemed to rub off on her teammates.


Down 24-19, Winfield called timeout to try to make a last minute adjustment, but after a 40-second rally, the Wildcats finished the job with junior Maddie Clugston recording a kill to end the match.


With a win to wrap up the night, Coach Rawlings was pleased and wants to see further improvement from her group.


"We have had a lot of sets so far where we’ve been really close and we just haven’t finished," Rawlings said. "If we get a couple more wins under our belt, we’ll be good to go."


The Wildcats will travel to the Rossville Invitational this weekend and then will be in Augusta for a triangular on Tuesday, Sept. 22 with the Orioles and McPherson.