CAMDEN — Josh Evans wanted his Preble Shawnee volleyball team to step up its non-conference schedule.
What a better way to do that than play a perennial Division II state powerhouse?
The Division III Arrows hosted Fenwick, the D-II state champion from 2019 and regional qualifier in 2020, on Tuesday, Aug. 24.
“Fenwick is one of the premier teams in the state in Division II. They’re a very solid team. Their coach, you can tell, works them really hard,” Evans said. “ I know they lost a couple of their key players last year and the year before from the state team, but I don’t see them not having an issue going far again. They’re a really solid team.”
Shawnee was up to the test early but came up short against the visiting Falcons in straight sets, falling 25-21, 25-8, 25-17.
”I want a tougher schedule. I want these girls to see that, ‘Hey, we could go out there and hang with a previous state champion,’” he said. “They’ve got to understand that they could go out there and hang with these teams and they deserve to be there. So that’s why we pushed the harder schedule this year.”
Evans was pleased with the way his team responded.
”Other than the second game, I was pretty happy with how we performed,” he said. “The first game was amazing. If we could have played like that all game it could have been a whole different game.”
Junior Cora Neihoff led the Arrows with four kills and four digs. Juniors Harlee Howard and Liv Thompson each added three kills.
Shawnee closed out the week with impressive wins over Ponitz (25-7, 25-12, 25-13) and Middletown Madison (25-14, 25-19, 25-18).
Against Ponitz, George led with 29 assists and 11 aces. Neihoff had 12 kills and Howard added nine kills. Thompson added five kills, seven aces and five digs.
In the win over Madison, George handed out 37 assists and had four aces and six digs. Howard paced the offense with 20 kills and had eight digs.
Neihoff added nine kills and two aces.
Shawnee, now 4-2, was scheduled to begin Western Ohio Athletic Conference play on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at Dixie. They will also host Arcanum in key early season WOAC showdown on Thursday.