EATON — The Eaton Eagle volleyball team avenged its only league loss of the season and seized a share of the SWBL Southwestern Championship for the first time since 2003 when the team defeated Bellbrook in straight sets on Thursday, Oct. 15.
The Eagles hosted their league rivals in the very gym the eight seniors on the team lost an eighth grade championship match to back in 2011.
“It’s unreal, we’ve wanted to win this so bad,” senior captain Jackie McCafferty said. “We were all talking about how in eighth grade we lost to that same team in this same gym. It was fun to finally beat them here at home.”
Fellow senior Brittany George had similar things to say about finally being able to close out a SWBL title. “It’s hard to say what it is like, it’s like a dream, we’ve been dreaming about this since seventh grade,” she said. “We’ve always wanted the title but we never have been able to get it, we’ve always been runners up or third place.”
The Eagles won in straight sets, winning 26-24, 25-21 and 25-16, cementing their status as 2015 league champions.
George helped lead the way with 14 kills, Ariel Richardson had 10 kills, Julia Titus chipped in with nine kills and five blocks, and Emma McKinney had 38 assists and 11 digs.
Head coach Parker Fields highlighted the play of McCafferty, who finished the game with 23 digs and received 95 percent of serves in her direction.
Fields said this year’s group has had the best team chemistry he has been around in large part to the eight seniors on the team.
His seniors agree. “We’ve played for each other, we went out there and said we are not going to win this game for ourselves, but for each other,” George said.
The tournament path for the Eagles looks daunting as they prepare for possible match-ups with Alter, Bellbrook and state ranked Bishop Fenwick, who beat the Eagles earlier in the year.
But Fields wanted his team to be challenged at the end of the season and the tough schedule is starting to pay off according to McCafferty.
“That’s been the best thing for us,” she said. “Not only did that help us with beating Bellbrook, it’s going to help us in the tournament.”
The league title continues a strong history at the school in volleyball, as the 2015 team earlier this season honored the 1990 team who went all the way to the state final four.
But it has been 12 years since the Eagles have added a title of any kind to their banner.
McCafferty was well-aware of the history the 2015 squad now joins.
“It’s so cool, 12 years is a long time not to have a number on the volleyball banner,” the senior noted. “We just honored the 1990 team with our Volley for the Cure event, it was really cool to meet them and show them we wanted to continue their legacy and what they did.”
The Eagles advanced to the second round of the sectional tournament when they defeated Wilmington in straight sets on Saturday, Oct. 17, at Bishop Fenwick High School.
The Eagles defeated Wilmington with scores of 25-6, 25-11 and 25-10. Titus had 13 kills, McKinney ended with 40 assists and four aces and Brandi Sittloh added eight digs and four aces.
They moved on to play Alter on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and will most likely play Bellbrook in a rematch for the sectional title if both teams are able to advance.
The team is now 20-3 on the season and finished 11-1 in the SWBL Southwestern, sharing the title with Bellbrook.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.