LEBANON — In a five-set match, the team that does the little things is typically the one who ultimately prevails.
That was the case last week for Eaton’s volleyball team.
The season for the No. 2 seeded Eagles came to an end at the hands of No. 4 seed Kettering Alter in the Division II district semifinal on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Lebanon High School, in a thrilling five-set match.
After easily winning the fist set, Eaton dropped sets two and three and eventually the fifth to conclude its season with a 15-25, 25-16, 25-19, 19-25, 15-7 loss.
The Eagles end the season with a 23-2 record.
“We fought really hard. We knew that the winner of the serve and pass game was going to win this match. And the winner of the serve and pass game won this match,” Eaton coach Parker Fields said. “We missed 10 serves. We probably serve-received passed at maybe a 1.2 or 1.3. In order for you to be able to win matches you have to pass at a 1.8 or higher. I just felt like, tonight, in serve-receive we were a little stagnant. Didn’t do a lot of moving. Didn’t do a lot of communication.”
In the first set, Eaton raced out to a 7-2 lead with a trio of kills from senior Shay Perry. The lead swelled to 15-6 as freshman Olivia Buamann added three kills. Alter closed to within 15-10, but Eaton rebounded to push the lead back to nine at 19-10 behind a kill and a pair of aces from Baumann.
Momentum switched in set two, Alter got out to the big early lead (8-2) and was never really threatened. The closest the Eagles got was 18-13.
Set three went back and forth, before Alter grabbed the lead a 16-15 and never looked back.
“Alter did a really good job of keeping us out of system. I felt like when we were getting free balls, we were passing the ball at the 10 foot line and we were never able to get our middles going,” Fields said.
In set four, the Eagles got off to another quick start in taking a 7-2 lead. They extended the lead to 16-9, before Alter rallied to get within 17-14. Eaton stopped the momentum with four straight points and held on to force a fifth set.
In the deciding set, Eaton held a 5-4 lead, before the Knights went on a 9-1 to grab control
“It’s disappointing to go out like this but we’re really proud of the season they had. They played to win continuously throughout the year,” Fields said. “This is such a momentum game, you lose it and you lose the match.”
Baumann finished with 14 kills and nine digs.
Perry had 11 kills and two blocks
Junior Libby Giffen contributed seven kills and 12 digs.
Junior Claire Sorrell had 10 digs.
Junior Carsyn Lammers had 21 assists and freshman Bailey Jerdon had 14.
Julianne Leasue finished with five kills.
Eaton will graduate four seniors – Perry, Makenzie Cooper, Molly Curry and Leasure.
“Cooper exceeded our expectations for the year. Molly Curry is one of those kids that you can depend on and is always going to put our team first. Shay did exactly what we thought she was going to do. She lead by example all year long. If you want to model yourself after somebody you want to model yourself after her. Not only the way she works, but her personality and her drive and her demeanor. She sets a great example for everybody. Julianne, this kid takes a year off and comes back and it didn’t even seem like (she missed a beat). She hit the ground running with us. We were glad to have her back,” Fields said. “This group of seniors is a group that exceeded our expectations, overall. This group didn’t have a lot of playing experience and they came in and handled the job well.”
Despite the loss, Fields was happy with the season.
“It was a great season. I don’t feel like I’m hanging my head at all. I’m happy,” he said. “I knew that we were going to get challenged tonight. I think we stepped up. They just made a few more plays going down the stretch.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH