It'll be an evening at Shadyside High School that not many will soon forget.
The Lady Tigers hosted and played in their first official volleyball match since 1983 Monday evening when they hosted Steubenville Central inside a warm Tiger Den.
Starting a program from the ground up is going to lead to some growing pains as evidenced by the decisive three-game sweep posted by the Lady Crusaders, who prevailed by scores of 25-5, 25-1 and 25-12.
SHADYSIDE’S Angelina McKeever stretches to save a shot during Monday’s volleyball match against Steubenville Central. The Lady Tigers were swept in their first match since 1983. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"We realize there are going to be a lot of down days, but we just have to try to play every point to try to get some extra points," said Lady Tiger head coach Joel Joseph. "Though the outcome wasn't what we wanted, obviously, I?am extremely proud of the girls for the amount of effort and dedication they've invested into getting this program started. We need to focus on getting some extra serves or an extra set. Obviously, this isn't the way we wanted to get it started, but we have to build on little things."
Prior to the start of the match, Athletic Director John Triveri read a proclamation from Shadyside Mayor Robert Newhart, who declared this week Lady Tiger volleyball week in the village.
In front of a large and boisterous turnout, the defending Class 2A OVAC Champion Lady Crusaders wasted little time in flexing their muscle on the LTs by scoring the first five points of the match and 10 of the first 11.
"First match in almost 30 years, you'd like to have tons of people," Joseph said. "We had a decent crowd with some who probably didn't know what to expect."
All of Shadyside's points in the first two games came on unforced Lady Crusader errors.
"The girls probably wouldn't admit it, but nerves were a huge factor for us tonight," Joseph pointed out. "Our nerves were definitely prevalent, but let's be honest, would that have affected the outcome of the match? Probably not.
The Lady Crusaders served 23 consecutive points before Monica Fisher served the ball into the net, allowing the Lady Tigers to avoid the shutout.
"That was probably the longest shortest set of all time," Joseph said.
"We just got stuck in a rotation and couldn't get out of it."
The Lady Tigers had their best showing in the third game, which Joseph was happy with because they got through a couple of rotations.
"Little things like getting two or three rotations in set are important for us," Joseph said. "Getting the first match under our belt is huge because I think the girls were getting sick of looking at me in practice and hitting the ball to each other.
"This is now where we can start building and looking at the things we need to work on."
Fischer led Steubenville Central (2-0) with 24 service points and eight aces. Robyn Runkel had five points and 10 assists.