County rivals Monroe Central and Beallsville went toe-to-toe during an entertaining four-game Wednesday night prep volleyball match in the Blue Devils' gym.
Coach Troy Baker's Lady Noles prevailed but had to work hard in the process en route to a 25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 25-19 victory.
One night after being decisively swept by unbeaten Buckeye Trail, Monroe came back to win for a seventh time in 10 starts.
"We're still not where we need to be. This season's definitely had its share of ups and downs," Baker advised. "Tonight, we changed a few things up and went with a new rotation."
The strategy apparently worked, though Coach Patrick Wells' Lady Devils more than made things a little interesting.
"We'll take something positive out of (this match) even though we didn't win it," Wells explained. "In terms of playing well as a team, this was probably our best effort. And it came against a quality opponent."
After dropping the first two games, Beallsville responded by mounting an early lead and going on to earn a tight game three decision.
"I thought the girls showed great character by coming back in that third game," Wells added. "And we pushed them pretty hard in game four. Hopefully, this can serve as a turning point (in our season)."
Baker, meanwhile, spoke highly of his club's resolve. "Give Beallsville credit for playing us tough, but I felt our kids kept their heads in and finished well. Tonight was a good start to the second half of the season."
Monroe's Chelsie Roberts was solid, posting 13 serving points, five aces, eight kills and 31 digs. Teammate Kayley Stephens compiled 13 kills and three blocks.
Jennifer Hayes totaled 12 points and three aces. Hillary Wilson contributed seven kills. Melissa Stimpert and Asia Prickett collected 15 and eight assists, respectively. Reliable Alex Kuhn donated 25 digs.
Beallsville received 18 points and three aces from sophomore Rachel Emrick. Another 10th grader, Anna Jones, tallied nine points, two aces and five assists.
Junior Hayley Campbell registered 14 kills, six blocks and nine digs. Sophomore Katie Kinney charted seven kills and three blocks. Junior Alicia Kanzigg scored seven points.
Now 4-8, Beallsville was slated to visit Caldwell this evening. Monroe next faces Shenandoah at Sarahsville on Monday.
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org