The Spring Valley Cardinals opened up their best-of-five set play with a thrilling 3-2 win over the Somerset Spartans — a team the Cardinals lost to in the 2018 season — on Tuesday, Sept. 10, and the “nail-biting” win took a team effort.

“We played together as a team, through the good and the bad, through the wins and losses,” Cardinals’ head coach Kelli Schlegel said.

The Cardinals won the first two sets 25-18, 25-23 but dropped Set 3 25-15 and Set 4 25-22 before sealing the game with a 15-11 Set 5 victory.

Lexi Johansen paced the front row with 16 kills and only seven errors out of 47 attempts. The senior veteran also added three blocks and 10 digs to her Tuesday night stat line. Schlegel added that Taya Kado was “huge” in the front row with three kills, two blocks and many block touches that didn’t make their way into the stats book. The Cardinals’ head coach also mentioned that Alexia Anderson made a huge difference in the front row with four kills, two blocks and plenty of block touches.

Ava Birkel held down the back row with 10 digs while Maddie Matthys once committed one serve receive error out of 20 receptions. Matthys also added five digs, three aces and two kills for her all-around strong performance.

Leigha Prudlow contributed five aces out of 17 serving attempts, and junior setter Jasmine Ortner ended the night with a team-high 26 assists.

“I am extremely proud of how these girls pushed through to win such a tight match, in front of a loud Somerset crowd,” Schlegel said.

The Cardinals will host their first home best-of-five match on Thursday, Sept. 12, when they host the Pepi/Alma Eagles at 7 p.m. for a non-conference game.