EATON — Eaton’s volleyball team ground out a pair of five-set wins during the last week of the regular season to finish 18-4 overall and 8-4 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division.
Eaton opened the week with a 25-13, 25-22, 15-25, 16-25, 15-12 win at Greenville on Monday, Oct. 8 and closed it with a 25-22, 20-25, 25-27, 25-23, 15-5 win over Chaminade Julienne on Thursday for Senior Night.
In between, the Eagles dropped a tough five-set match to visiting Monroe on Tuesday, 20-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-8, 10-15 in league play. The loss snapped Eaton’s eight match winning streak.
Despite the loss, Eaton finished as runner-up in the SW Division behind Bellbrook. The Eagles won nine of their last 10 matches and 15 of their final 17.
“Overall, was a ‘grind it out’ kind of week. We played three, five-set matches last week. Although it can be tough on a team going back-to back-to back like that, I am also glad that it happened because it battle tested us going into the tournament,” Eaton coach Parker Fields said. “I thought we played really well through the first two sets at Greenville on Monday night, but fell off the boat in the second two sets. There was no sense of urgency, our communication broke down, and we received serve at a less than desirable rate. Really happy with the drive we used in set five to grind that win out.”
Senior Becca Mowen led the team with 13 kills. Junior Shay Perry added 11 and sophomore Kylee Pitsinger contributed nine.
Sophomore Kayleigh Michael added six aces and 14 digs.
Senior Annika Gels led the team with 19 digs. Senior Courtney Giffen had 14 and senior Alysa Sorrell added 10.
Senior Maley Tinstman had 30 assists.
Eaton’s serve game was key to nearly knocking off Monroe after a slow start.
“Against Monroe, on Tuesday night, I thought we used a really tough serve game to climb back into the match. Kudos to Monroe for finding their big hitter on just about every possession in the 5th. We didn’t have an answer for her going down the stretch,” he said.
Perry and Pitsinger each had 12 kills, while Courtney Giffen added 10 and sophomore Libby Giffen chipped in with nine.
Mowen had a team-high seven aces, while Michael and Libby Giffen each had five.
Gels also added 29 digs and three aces. Michael contributed with 10 digs as well.
Tinstman set up with offensive attack with 40 assists.
Eaton overcame the emotion of Senior Night and used a loud student section to rally for the win.
“On senior night we got a big win against a pretty decent CJ team. I thought we attacked the ball the best we had all season long. When we pass well and run in system, our middles are really tough to defend. They have the really good ability to find open spots, especially in the 2 and 4 zones, when they are getting double and triple teamed,” Field said. “Big congratulations to our seniors on a great win on senior night. Huge shout out to our parents who put the event on. This senior class has been through a lot, and them going 18-4 during the regular season shows a lot about their drive and resilience. This team should be really proud of where they are right now.”
Perry led the team with 19 kills. Pitsinger had 14, Courtney Giffen 12 and Mowen added 10.
Gels and Sorrell led the team with 26 and 18 digs respectively. Tinstman and Michael each had 13, while Libby Giffen contributed with 10.
Tinstman had 54 assists.
Eaton, the No. 3 seed in the Division II Lebanon sectional, was scheduled to play Thurgood Marshall in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The winner will meet Oakwood on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 12:30 p.m.
“I love that we are battle tested going into the tournament,” Fields said. “We are pretty happy with our draw. We are looking forward to possibly seeing Oakwood for the third time this season, especially with the different look we will be sporting when we play them.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH