BROOKVILLE — Eaton volleyball coach Parker Fields knew the importance of last week’s match up with undefeated Brookville on the Blue Devils home court.
He also knew that know matter the outcome, his team — which was also undefeated — still has half the season remaining.
Both teams treated a large crowd to some entertaining volleyball, but it was Eaton who left with its perfect record still in tact after posting a 27-25, 25-19, 26-24 win.
With the win, Eaton pushed its record to 11-0 overall and 6-0 in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Southwestern Division.
Brookville fell to 11-1 overall and 5-1 in the SWBL.
“We have half a season left. This was a big game for us. I told the kids that matches like this are way we play the game,” he said. “We haven’t been super challenged a lot this year and we felt like this was going to be our challenge. This is by far the best team we’ve played all year long. But, we have to turn around and play them again in two weeks.”
Eaton was paced by senior Shay Perry, who had a team-high 18 kills and played like one of the best players in the league.
“Shay stepped up real big,” Fields said. “She made some big swings. That’s player of the year type swings right there. This was probably the best match I’ve ever seen her play. Shay Perry always plays to win. She’s a great leader for our team.”
The Eagles had other solid performances as well.
Freshman Olivia Baumann had eight kills and nine digs.
Sophomore Jenna Ditmer added six kills and junior Libby Giffen had six kills and nine digs.
“Jenna made some really big deep court swings going down the stretch,” Fields said.
Junior Carsyn Lammers had 21 assists and freshman Bailey Jerdon contributed 11.
“A lot of credit goes to your passers when your middles have big nights,” Fields said.
In the first set, Eaton fell behind 16-12. Perry had four kills in a 7-2 run for the Eagles as they grabbed a 19-18 lead. Eaton held a 23-21 lead before the Blue Devils took a 24-23 lead. Facing set point, Perry added another kill to tie the set. Brookville regained the lead at 25-24, but three straight Brookville mistakes gave Eaton the set.
With the second set tied at 11-11, Eaton went on a 5-1 run with Perry adding three kills, to take a 16-12 lead. Brookville never got closer than two the rest of the set.
In the final set, Brookville held early leads of 4-1, 8-5, 11-7 before the Eagles finally tied it a 13-13. Eaton faced a 20-16 deficit before rallying to tie it at 22-22. Brookville regained the lead at 23-22 and 24-23, but Eaton rallied for the final three points to take the match.
“Tough serving, putting the ball where it needed to be, keeping them out of system, being mentally tough and following the game plan is what won us this match,” Fields said.
Fields said the experience of being in these types of games over the past several years benefited his team.
“We’ve been in this position as a program before and the kids in our program are used to this,” he said. “They know that when you go to places like this you’re going to have a target on your back.”
Earlier in the week, Eaton knocked off Clinton-Massie 21-25, 25-11, 25-17, 25-17 and Preble Shawnee 25-17, 25-7, 25-13.
“This is the time where people can start sneaking up on you,” Fields said. “They’ve seen you play, They know your tendacies and they’re going to start coming at you.”
Eaton was scheduled to play Twin Valley South on Monday, Sept. 16 and Bellbrook in another key SWBL contetst on Tuesday. They will wrap up play this week by hosting Franklin on Thursday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH