PREBLE COUNTY — This past week on the volleyball court brought several key contests, which included a key county rival match up and a key league match up.
In both games, at least one team entered the contest undefeated and neither left with a perfect record.
The week also ended with both county team sitting atop their respective league standings.
The week started with Eaton traveling to undefeated and state-ranked Preble Shawnee on Monday, Sept. 26. The Arrows were ranked 14th in the Division III poll last week.
When the dust settled it was the Eagles who left with a hard fought 25-21, 19-25, 25-15, 25-17 win.
“When you go to Preble Shawnee, you know you are going to get their best effort. So, it was a good win for us in that aspect,” Eaton coach Parker Fields said.
“I think that we received serve well enough for us to run three balanced options all night, and it kept them out of system and unbalanced. They have a really good player in No. 22 (Harlee Howard) and we did a really nice job of limiting her touches, especially in serve receive,” Fields said. “We knew, going in, that if we limited her contribution in the passing game, that we would have a pretty good chance of beating them. We knew she would get hers offensively.”
Olivia Baumann led the Eagles with 23 kills. Ellis Wilson added 17. Bailey Jerdon had 41 assists.
“Our kids played with and sustained energy all night long and followed the game plan. We served them tough and attacked aggressively,” Fields said. “When you side out 60 percent of the time, hit .233 as team, and have 12 service aces, in high school, your chances of winning a ball game are very high.
“Bailey (Jerdon) did a nice job of evenly distributing the ball between Liv, Lily, Ellie, and Daisy, and it kept their block honest. I also think that everyone contributed greatly to our service game, which kept them out of system most of the night.”
The remainder of the week was a struggle for the Eagles who played without Wilson against Monroe and Tippecanoe.
Eaton fell to the Hornets in five sets on Tuesday, 26-24, 15-25, 14-25, 25-20, 15-13 and to Tipp on Saturday, 25-10, 25-23, 25-15.
The Eagles are now 12-4 overall and 7-2 in the SWBL. Eaton was scheduled to play Oakwood on Monday, Oct. 3, Chaminade Julienne on Tuesday, Oct. 4 and will host Carlisle on Thursday, Oct. 6 for Senior Night.
For Shawnee, the loss to Eaton served as a wake-up call according to coach Josh Evans as the Arrows rebounded with wins over Ansonia (25-16, 25-15, 25-21) and previously unbeaten Newton (25-19, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19) the next two days.
“The lost to Eaton, it hurts. You don’t want to lose that rivalry (game),” Evans said. “But it I think it was the slap in the face we needed for the night. We got down and we just let it go. We realized it was our first big, big test of the year. And they weren’t ready for the speed. It really helped for tonight. And the girls are ready.”
The win over Newton gave Shawnee the outright lead in the Western Ohio Athletic Conference with just two games remaining. Newton entered the contest 16-0 overall and 9- in the WOAC.
“It was definitely a hard-fought game,” Evans said of the Indians. “They were what I expected. They’re scrappy, they’re going to touch everything. They served really well. They found some weaknesses. And they exploited them. It’s a good game. They’re a great team.”
The Arrows were led by Howard and Kulms. Howard finished with 25 kills and 18 digs. Kulms had 10 kills and six blocks.
“That might have been one of the best games I’ve seen Kahlen play,” Evans said. “She played amazing tonight.”
Howard has been a consistent all season.
“Harlee did Harlee things. She has the ability to take over court and she does, and she did it tonight,” Evans said.
Shawnee, now 15-1 overall and 9-0 in the WOAC, has another busy week scheduled. The Arrows were to play at Carlisle on Monday and at Mississinawa Valley on Tuesday. They will wrap up the week hosting Talawanda on Wednesday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.