EATON — On Thursday, Sept. 15, the Eaton volleyball team hosted the Ross Lady Rams in non-conference action. It was the home team that emerged the winner in three sets: 26-24, 25-12, 25-23.
This annual match-up has regularly been a clash of two great teams resulting in an exciting game, and this year was no different.
The first set saw the Eagles fall behind early, down 7-1 before calling a time out.
“I think what happened was that big momentum-changing 7-1 run in the first set which took the wind out of our sails,” said coach Parker Fields after the game.
“We made some defensive adjustments after that early run. We pulled some kids out and had them think about what they were supposed to do. These sophomores need to realize that we have to be tough and that if they are not, we have somebody here who will get out there and be tough. And it worked,” Fields said.
The time out did justice for the Eagles, as they rallied back to close the gap later in the set, tying the set up at 19 after a six-point run.
Eaton managed to take the lead, but lost it after Ross scored four straight points.
With key kills made by Ava Miller and Stacia Weathington, however, the Eagles eventually won the first set, 26-24.
The second set was all Eaton, with Alysa Sorrell scoring three consecutive aces early on. Eaton was able to build a commanding lead of no less than eight points and held on to win the set, 25-12.
But the third set was as hotly contested as the first. Ross held an early 4-2 lead but was losing the battle of the digs to the Lady Eagles. When the score was tied 8-8, the game saw a string of three ties and two lead changes, mostly in favor of the home netters. Then a big point surge occurred for the Lady Eagles, seeing a lead as large as 20-14 at one point.
But the Lady Rams weren’t going to go down easy — they rallied back on several serve aces and hard hitting kills to bring the deficit down to just three.
At 22-20, the game was a series of ties and lead changes. At the last point, a Ross serving error granted Eaton the 25-23 win.
”Our pin hitters did a really good job of blocking tonight because our middles didn’t close real well — so they did a good job of shutting their ends down,” said Fields. “We were good enough in serve receive, probably better than normal. When you can do that, you normally win most of your games.”
Fields said Ross always presents a challenge.
“It’s always tough with Ross,” Fields said. “They are a bigger division school — a lot of their girls play in the off-season, their coaches are really competitive. I think tonight, we were just a tick too quick for them. They can hit the ball really well, but I think we attacked the ball just enough to break them out of their system.”
“I’ve said this over the past three years — we may not be the most skilled team, but we will out-work our opponents and I think that is how we won tonight,” Fields said.
Maley Tinstman had nine digs, four assists, and four aces in the game. Senior Emma McKinney pitched in with 29 assists. Richardson had nine kills and three aces . Becca Mowen added seven kills, Weathington had six kills, and Miller made five kills and three blocks.
The Eagles went 1-2 and placed fourth at the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio (O.I.O) tournament hosted by Lima Bath on Saturday. Eaton beat Northwood, then lost to St. Henry and Parkway.
Eaton currently stands with a 8-5 overall record, and is 3-2 in the Southwestern Buckeye League. The Eagles’ next match was slated for Tuesday, Sept. 20, at Southwestern Division foe Valley View. Eaton will return home to host Lemon-Monroe on Thursday.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH