SHADYSIDE - Winless no more.
After 24 consecutive losses since the Lady Tigers' volleyball program was born last year, Shadyside broke into the win column Tuesday evening.
Coach Joel Joseph's team needed four games to get past East Richland Christian. Shadyside prevailed by scores of 25-20, 25-18, 18-25 and 25-12.
"We got the proverbial monkey off our backs," Joseph said. "The girls, who were here last year, understand where they started, so if they can get a win? It's absolutely, positively huge for the girls and the program."
Joseph knew when he accepted the job as head coach that it would be a challenge to get the program going from the ground up.
However, he's now able to show his team that the hardwork does pay dividends and hopes to build on the progress.
"You have to start with one before you can get two, so now we've gotten that," Joseph said. "I am happy for the girls because they've been working hard, but they've never been able to get over the hump. Plus, doing it at home is special."
It wasn't a total masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. East Richland Christian, which has just six players on its team, owned a 7-1 lead in the first game before Shadyside (1-3) was able to get some momentum built.
"I told the girls we just needed to get a lead," Joseph said. "This sport is so easy to go on a streak of seven or eight points because there always seems to be a rotation where we can't get out of it. It would have been easy for the girls to fold in that first game, but we showed some character and rallied back."
Shadyside controlled the second game.
The Lady Tigers were unable to get the sweep when the Lady Lions captured the third game. East Richland Christian actually had the game under control after taking a 2-1 lead early.
"I don't know if we just thought we had sealed the deal after two or what," Joseph said. "We made a lot of mistakes like we hadn't done in the first two and we deserved to lose that game. We would have liked to have gotten the sweep, but we got some additional reps in, so it's not a terrble thing to play four."
The Lady Tigers never trailed and were never tied in the fourth game to close out the victory.
Angelina McKeever had a big night on the stat sheet with 10 aces, 18 points and two kills. Junior Kenzie Fieding added four aces, six kills and seven points.
Frosh Jonna Eniex had four aces, five assists, 24 sets and five points. Samantha Rosser also had four aces and 12 points.
Alyssa Crowley led East Richland Christian with eight aces, seven digs, two kills and two blocks. Rebekah Mitchell had two aces, three digs and three kills. Susanna Yourko had six aces and 27 sets.
The Lady Tigers won't have long to celebrate their victory, however. They're in action this evening at Conotton Valley.
No reserve game was contested.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org