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Monroe Central edges Shadyside in five

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH SHADYSIDE’S Gentry Brown hits a return over Monroe Central’s Haylynn Hiles (3) and Karlie Haslam during Tuesday’s match in Shadyside. The Seminoles won in five sets.

SHADYSIDE — Monroe Central needed a volleyball win in the worst of ways. It had lost its last match, sat in fifth place in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 2A standings and had only played one home game to date heading into Tuesday night’s match against Shadyside.

Trailing two sets to one, the Seminoles (7-3) rallied to take the next two for a key victory by the scores of 19-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18 and 15-13 inside a steamy Tigers Den.

“We really needed to come back after the loss to Linsly. It was a tough loss for us, but this was a good win,” first-year Monroe Central head coach Jeanette Schwall said.

She said the turnaround in the final two sets was how her team hung in there.

“One of the big things I’ve been stressing this season is staying together and not giving up,” she said. “That’s what we do. If you look at our scores, we’ve been in every match. We’ve been close but tonight we were able to get the victory, which is very nice.”

The play was back-and-forth all night as the two rivals went toe-to-toe.

Monroe Central snapped a 13-all deadlock by scoring 12 of the final 17 points of the fourth set to draw even.

The Tigers led 11-8 in the fifth-and-deciding set, but a timeout by Schwall stopped the hosts’ momentum.

With the teams tied at 12, Macy Hendershot’s left-handed slam gave Shadyside a 13-12 edge, but they wouldn’t score again after Schwall burned her final timeout.

Kalista Friday’s serve was returned by the Tigers, but Abby Thompson was there to slam home the return for match-point. After a Shadyside timeout, the Seminoles put the match away.

The first set had seven ties and eight lead changes before the Tigers (5-3) took a 13-10 lead. They maintained a 3-4 point bulge the final three. The second set saw the teams knotted half-a-dozen times, the final at nine before the Seminoles used runs of 6-1 and 8-1 to win by 10. A 13-3 Shadyside run early in the third set was too much for Monroe Central to overcome.

“I think so,” Shadyside head coach Eric Mercer said when asked if he thought his team let one slip away. “They (Monroe Central) came to play. Their defense was absolutely phenomenal. They touched everything and we just did not respond to that … we didn’t respond to it.

“I can’t say enough about their defense,” he praised of the Seminoles. “They played really, really well and we didn’t respond to it.”

Mercer wasn’t sure what the difference was in the final two sets.

“Our passing was poor in the third set but it got better. In the fourth set it got worse and that was the key in the fifth set,” he explained. “We were giving them over-passes, we didn’t do the things we need to do and we didn’t put the ball on the floor.”

Leading the Tigers was Paige Gorby with 14 kills, 12 digs and two aces. Caroline Mercer added 44 assists, 11 digs, four kills and a pair of aces, while Gentry Brown charted 23 kills, seven digs and five aces. Macy Hendershot finished with five kills and a like number of digs and Bayleigh Harmon had 11 digs and four kills. Kayla Krah contributed eight digs and Mady Violet three kills.

Monroe Central was paced by Thompson’s eight kills and five blocks. Haylyn Hiles added seven kills and four blocks, while Kynzi Bishop charted seven kills, five points, four blocks and an ace. Friday chipped in nine points, 11 digs and two aces. Regan Hamilton and Olivia Valkovic evenly divided 18 assists. Grace Swisher had five points and Trista Morris five digs.

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