NEW MADISON — Preble Shawnee’s volleyball team might have been overlooked in the preseason as a team to contend for the Western Ohio Athletic Conference title.
But the Arrows proved the doubters wrong as they traveled to Tri-Village last week with a chance to claim the first-ever WOAC title.
Playing in front of a hostile crowd, the Arrows bid came up just short in a five-set thriller 27-25, 22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-11 on Thursday, Oct. 7.
In each of the first four sets Shawnee had leads of five or more points, but fell behind early in the deciding first set and couldn’t recover.
Tri-Village and Arcanum had been the two teams most considered favorites to win the title, but the Arrows
“As I told them in a locker room, that’s volleyball,” Shawnee coach Josh Evans said. “We should want to play games like this night in, night out. These are the games that I love to coach. I think it was really an equally matched game. It was a lot of back and forth. They played great.”
Senior Carlyn George lead the Arrows with 40 assists, three service aces and 12 digs. Junior Harlee Howard lead the team with 16 kills and 24 digs, and junior Cora Neihoff added 14 kills. Sophomore Kahlen Kulms had nine kills. Junior Liv Thompson added seven kills and 19 digs.
Sophomore Korrie Woodard, who rolled an ankle during pre-game warm-up and fought through the pain, added two aces and 23 digs. Sophomore Delaney Klapper had four blocks, 19 digs and two aces.
In the first set, Shawnee led 5-1 and 12-9 before the Patriots rallied to grab their first lead at 13-12. Shawnee regained the advantage 16-13, but the Patriots rallied for six straight points to take a 19-16 lead. Down 24-21, Shawnee rallied to tie the set at 24-24, but was never able to regain the lead, falling 27-25.
In set two, Shawnee held leads of 5-1, 11-4 and 18-9 before the Patriot rallied again closing to within 18-15 before eventually tied the set at 22-22. Unlike the first set, the Arrows were able to finish off the set and win 25-22.
In set three, Shawnee held a 9-1 lead early. The Patriots rallied to tie at 13-13, and the two teams then battled back and forth before Shawnee gained a 23-22 lead. However, three straight points for Tri-Village ended the set at 25-23.
In the fourth, the Arrows again got off to a quick start, going up 6-1. Shawnee had leads of 10-4, 17-11 before the Patriots rallied again. This time, the Arrows never relinquished the lead, winning 25-21.
In the fifth set, it was Tri-Village who got off the fast start going up 6-1 and 10-3. The Arrows got within 11-8 and forced the Patriots to call timeout. After falling behind 13-8, Shawnee closed to within 13-11, but the Patriots closed the set out 15-11.
“Overall it was a great game. We battled with them. We made our mistakes. They made their mistakes,” Evans said. “A match like this is going to prove a lot. It’s going to show that we can fight with a great team. They came up here knowing that they keep competing. They knew they were gonna compete. We love being doubted. We really do. Please, doubt us, that’s what I say. Please doubt us, because we have the firepower to compete.”
Shawnee (15-5, 10-1 WOAC) was scheduled to play at Carlisle on Monday, Oct. 11 and will travel to CJ on Thursday to close out the regular season.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr