Shenandoah zaps Shadyside in premier volleyball match
SHADYSIDE — Two of the premier Division IV volleyball teams in the Eastern District did nothing to alter anyone’s thought on Thursday evening.
Before a loud crowd, invading Shenandoah survived to win in five sets and complete the season sweep of the Tigers by scores of 21-25, 25-19, 25-21, 12-25 and 16-14. The Zeps were five-set victors in the opening match as well.
“We tell the girls all the time that ‘the only bad loss is one from which you do not learn'” Shadyside head coach Eric Mercer said. “I don’t mind losing a tight match to a good team and that’s what happened (Thursday).”
Mercer, who saw his team drop to 8-5, pinpointed the unforced errors, especially in the early portion of the fifth set, which allowed the Zeps to gain separation.
“The second and third set were the same kind of deal where we seemed to get into a funk, made some errors and got behind,” Mercer said.
Getting to the finish line was no easy task for the Zeps. Obviously, they couldn’t close the deal in the fourth set because of Paige Gorby and Gentry Brown’s play at the net along with some unforced errors that gave the Tigers the momentum.
However, in the fifth set, it looked like Shenandoah had regained control. It shot out to a 13-5 lead, but before the Zeps knew it, Shadyside was serving for the match.
“I felt like we had some great momentum and really made a great comeback,” Mercer said. “It was just a couple of bang-bang plays at the end and we couldn’t get it done. Give credit to Shenandoah. They came to play. This was great competition.”
The Tigers reeled off nine consecutive points before the Zeps survived the match point and then closed with the final two tallies.
“Our goal (in the fifth) set was to keep them in single digits,” Shenandoah head coach Megan Grywalski said. “Our serve-receive rotation allowed them to get four or five straight points and I told them that against a team like Shadyside that can’t happen. We’ve struggled on the road to get kicked into gear and play well from the start.”
Shadyside was led on the stat sheet once again by Brown, who had 17 kills, three aces, 10 digs and six blocks. Gorby posted another solid night of work with 12 kills, seven digs and three blocks. Senior Caroline Mercer helped the two hitters with some impressive setting. She had 36 assists and 10 digs. Macy Hendershot had seven kills, three digs and four aces to go along with three blocks.
Shenandoah sophomore Mya Leach was impressive for the Zeps. She had 14 kills, while Brylee May added 11. Heather Merry posted 21 assists and Ryleigh Sherman added 18 helpers. Makenna Clift had 11 digs, while Leach added eight.