The Greencastle girls' volleyball team did exactly what it needed to do early in Thursday's matchup with Monrovia. The Tiger Cubs came out against a talented Bulldog squad with a high level of intensity and set the visitors on their heels a bit, with a 25-21 victory in game one.
While GHS was not able to carry the early success through the entire match, falling to Monrovia 21-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-19, GHS coach Trish Lowe seemed to see an entire different squad than she saw in Monday's three-game loss to Terre Haute North.
"As unhappy as I was Monday with our play, I was three times more excited about our level of hustle and getting after the ball," Lowe said. "I have to commend the kids for their style because I think we did a much, much better job of not letting balls fall, getting after it."
Monrovia fought back, though, using a couple of large runs to eventually tie the game at 20.
However, Chelsea Samuels stopped the momentum with a big stuff blocks. She followed this with three consecutive service points to put GHS up 24-20.
Braden Amis finished off the opening game with a kill to make the final score 25-21.
In game two, the team traded small runs early, but the Monrovia began to establish its dominance at the net.
The senior tandem of setter Tiffani Dillon (31 assists) and middle hitter Jessica Standeford (19 kills) really got things going in game two.
Greencastle struggled even more, though, when Colleen Hadley came to the service line. The sophomore served for 12-straight points to close out game two 25-11.
"This sport is terribly momentum-oriented," Lowe said. "We had problems when they started getting on a role. We let down, and it's really tough to make a momentum swing."
After such a lopsided loss, a young team like Greencastle might be expected to call it a night. Greencastle showed no quit, though. While they were unable to break through for another win, they remained close to the Bulldogs throughout the last two games.
"That's what I want. You can't ask for more than that. We may not get a win, but at least I'm happy that we're not packing up our tent and going on home. I'm happy with the effort that we sustained throughout all four games," Lowe said.
In game three, Monrovia took a close game, blew it open to 19-11, only to see the Cubs crawl back to within four on two occasions. The Bulldogs ultimately won 25-20.
The final game of the evening was similar, with Monrovia getting up 17-8, before Greencastle pulled close at 20-17. The Bulldogs regained control late for the 25-19 victory and the match.
"I'm just happier with our level of play. I'll sleep much better today than I did on Monday," Lowe said. We're a young team. I have to keep reminding myself and others of that. We're pretty inexperienced when it comes down to it."
Brooke Lewis led GHS with nine service points and three aces. Amis had five kills, while Mallory Miller had 13 assists.
Defensively, Samuels had 16 blocks, including two stuffs. Jordyn Lewis led with 22 digs.
The coach was especially complementary of how her team handled the hitting of Standeford.
"Monrovia has one of the leading hitters in the conference. We did a pretty good job of passing her up. She's going to get some kills, but we did some good things," Lowe said. "Toward the end, we were getting behind the ball, and then she knew we were going to dig them up, so she started hitting off-speed, and I credit her as a player for figuring that out. But I was also happy with our kids for not giving up and just letting her have it."
Greencastle hosts Danville at 6 p.m. Monday.
|Monrovia||21 25 25 25|
|Greencastle||25 11 20 19|
Points -- Hadley 21, Bryant 11, Standeford 8, Dunbar 7, Kaiser 6, Vondersaar 3, Dillon 2 (M), B. Lewis 9, Nobles 8, Grzesiek 7, Miller 7, Samuels 5, J. Lewis 4 (G).
Aces -- Kaiser 2, Dunbar 2, Hadley 1 (M), B. Lewis 3, Grzesiek 1, Samuels 1, Miller 1 (G).
Kills -- Standeford 19, Kaiser 6, Dillon 4, Vondersaar 4, Frentz 1 (M), Amis 5, Nobles 4, B. Lewis 3, Samuels 2, Miller 2 (G).
Assists -- Dillon 31, Standeford 1 (M), Miller 13, Samuels 1, J. Lewis 1 (G).
Blocks -- Samuels 16 (2 stuffs), J. Lewis 4, Amis 3 (G).
Digs -- J. Lewis 22, B. Lewis 19, Nobles 15, Miller 14, Samuels 9, Amis 2, Grzesiek 2 (G).
Next match -- Greencastle (3-15, 0-3 WCC) hosts Danville at 6 p.m. Monday.