CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee’s volleyball team secured their eighth league title in team history as the Arrows clinched the SWBL Buckeye Division with a win in three sets against Waynesville on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Waynesville came into Tuesday’s match having won seven of their last 10, and earlier in the season, Waynesville beat Preble Shawnee in four sets 22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-12.
However, with a league title in view for the Arrows, they came out in dominant fashion, dealing the Spartans a 25-14, 25-10, 25-15 loss in three sets.
Sophomore Harlee Howard led the Arrows with 12 kills and 17 digs, alongside senior Kendel George who had three aces and 17 digs.
Junior Carlyn George added 21 assists for Shawnee, while freshman Kahlen Kulms had 10 kills and a team-high four blocks.
Preble Shawnee coach Josh Evans said that Waynesville is a great team, and he did not expect to beat them in three sets.
“I expected it was going to be a fight through five games” he said. “Them going out there, finally playing as one and playing as a full team, they realize that they can do a lot and are going to continue pushing that way.”
As the league title came closer, Evans said the excitement built up as the match went on.
“You could see it on the girls’ faces” he said. “We kind of handled our business throughout the whole match, so roughly around midway through game three, it all kind of started hitting home.”
The Arrows were dominant throughout the season, finishing with a 10-1 record in the SWBL and a 15-4 record overall, including a six-game winning streak to close out the regular season.
The lone league loss against Waynesville came in the second game of the season on Aug. 27.
“They have improved so much,” Evans said. “We made a few adjustments throughout the year, and it all finally clicked for them, and the improvements have been through the roof.”
Evans is a first-year head coach for the Arrows, and he said he was the potential of this team during open gyms.
“I wanted to win league this year, so it was an expectation, but I thought we we’re gonna have to do a little bit more work and buying into the system,” he said. “You don’t see a lot of first-year coaches at a program winning league. That was a big boost for us. It’s a big boost for me. Big thing for the school. My phone hasn’t stopped in two days.”
Preble Shawnee now has momentum heading into the sectional/district tournament, carrying a six-game winning streak and a league title, the school’s first in volleyball since 2013.
“It gives the girls a lot, it really does,” Evans said. “The Waynesville game, they finally – I’ve been preaching to them all season as playing as one,” he said. “That Waynesville game, they came out and they played us one. They finally realized, ‘Hey, if we play like this, there’s nobody that can touch us.’ It showed them.”
Regardless of how the season finishes for the Arrows, Evans believes the future is bright for Preble Shawnee.
“We’re a young team, and we’re gonna be around for a while,” Evans said.
Preble Shawnee will take on Arcanum at Brookville High School on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the D-III Sectional/District bracket.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles