Cuyahoga Falls -- The Cuyahoga Falls volleyball team was in a position to win both the first and third sets against a conference rival.
Sadly, the Lady Black Tigers won neither of those sets.
As a result, Falls' losing streak has now reached four.
The host Lady Black Tigers lost to Hudson 27-25, 25-9, 26-24 in Suburban League National Conference play Sept. 6 on the road.
With the victory, the Lady Explorers improved to 1-2 overall and 1-2 in the National Conference. The Lady Black Tigers fell to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in the National Conference.
"We made things interesting," Hudson first-year head coach Brad Disandis said. "I have a lot of respect for what [Falls head coach] Josh [Stewart] does. He does a great job. You know nothing is easy when you play his team."
It certainly wasn't in two of the three sets.
Unfortunately, the Lady Black Tigers couldn't close the deal.
Falls had two set points in the first and third sets, respectively. But the Lady Black Tigers didn't put Hudson away.
"We had chances in game three," Stewart said. "A couple of calls and a couple of bounces didn't go our way. We've got to earn our own points. We have to have that personality like we're in the regionals where we can't make a mistake."
In the third set, Lady Explorers' senior middle hitter Alena Madar took over when it mattered most.
Trailing 24-22, Madar had back-to-back kills to tie it up. Madar then added a block to give Hudson match point (25-24) and then put it away with a kill into the deep left corner of the court.
"Alena really stepped up and delivered what she's capable of doing," Disandis said. "This was a signature effort for her and it will help us down the road moving forward. We need her to demand the ball and want the ball in those situations."
Madar finished with 11 kills and 11 blocks for the Lady Explorers and junior outside hitter Dani Turner had a match-high 13 kills for Hudson.
Turner did most of her damage in the second set as the Lady Explorers jumped out to a 10-2 lead and didn't look back.
Sophomore middle hitter Regina Alvarez contributed 11 blocks for Hudson and junior setter Lorenza Chiarappa had a match-high 29 assists for the Lady Explorers.
Hudson's top back-row player was sophomore libero Kendall Mackay, who finished with a match-high 25 digs. Junior defensive specialist Madeline Gaeta served the last three points of the match and added 11 digs for the Lady Explorers.
Senior Emma Freeman finished with six kills to lead Falls and junior Rebecca Postlewaite had 11 assists for the Lady Black Tigers.
Sophomore Morgan Frame led Falls' back row with 10 digs and Emina Celic contributed four blocks for the Lady Black Tigers, who earned a 25-21, 16-25, 25-19 win in the junior varsity match.
Despite the loss, Stewart was pleased with his team's effort.
"I liked the fight better [Sept. 6]," he said. "Against Wadsworth [Sept. 1], we walked in and we knew they were better than us. It's a tough league. With an inexperienced team, we're going to have our ups and downs."
Falls also had a key player get injured early in the match. Sophomore Tylir Saxon left the floor with an arm injury.
"She played as a freshman last year," Stewart said.
The Lady Black Tigers lost to Suburban League crossover rival Copley 25-15, 25-23, 20-25, 25-15 Sept. 3 on the road.
Freeman led the way with 11 kills and Postlewaite contributed 19 assists.
Also faring well for Falls were Frame (18 digs) and Celic (three blocks).
The Lady Black Tigers were handily defeated to Wadsworth 25-12, 25-15, 25-11 in National Conference play Sept. 1 on the road.
Freeman had five kills and Postlewaite contributed nine assists. Frame finished with 15 digs.
Falls was scheduled to entertain National Conference foes Nordonia Sept. 8 and Brecksville-Broadview Heights Sept. 10. Results of those matches were not available at press time.
The Lady Black Tigers are set to visit National Conference archrival Stow-Munroe Falls Sept. 13 before returning home to play National Conference foe North Royalton Sept. 15. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
The Lady Black Tigers are set to compete at the Jackson Tournament Sept. 17 in Massillon. Play is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.