Grove, Olson lead attack in English Valleys' win

Audrey Grove winds up for one of her 12 kills in the win over Tri-County on October 17.

For the second time in as many weeks, the Tri-County Trojans and English Valleys Lady Bears met on the volleyball court. E.V. won the first match three sets to one, and on Tuesday, October 17, the Lady Bears got the sweep.

The more recent match had more implications, with the winner advancing to the next round of regionals, while the loser would see their season come to an end. Leading up to the game the head coach of Lady Bears, Becky Becker, said it's hard to beat a team four times in one season, with both sides getting better between each matchup.

This season, English Valleys has had the Trojan's number, now winning all four matches by a score of 11 sets to one. E.V. found some success early on with their defense, while the offense remained stagnant at times. The Trojans capitalized when they could, keeping it close for most of the first set.

When it came down to it, the Lady Bears made more plays when they needed to most. While the Trojans came out strong, E.V. managed to take the first set 25-18.

"I thought we were waiting for Tri-County to make mistakes instead of taking charge in the match," Becker said.

The Trojans continued to play their game, and began to find some more success along the way in the second set. Throughout the season, Tri-County had been making timely errors, giving the opponent an advantage and even giving away sets. The Lady Bears were hoping that would happen again, giving the Trojans a slight advantage when they committed less errors.

"We played aggressive through the first two sets and put the ball in open spots on the floor, making E.V. move," Trojan coach Sydney Davis said. "We knew we had to take advantage when Grove was out of the front row. That was the time to score."

Both teams' fan bases knew the importance of the second set. For Tri-County it would mean tying up the match and putting more pressure on E.V., while also taking back some of the momentum. For the Lady Bears, it would mean pushing the Trojans to the brink of elimination, and force them to make some adjustments. The second set went down to the wire, but E.V. pulled out the win, 25-21.

"In between the second and third sets I challenged them to take charge," Becker said. "They stepped up great and began to play more aggressive."

English Valleys saw the end was in sight and kept pushing forward, while upping the intensity. The change of pace threw off the Trojans enough to give the Lady Bears a sizeable lead, which they maintained most of the way. Tri-County continued to play their game, which worked for some of the set, but ultimately wasn't enough. English Valleys ended the night, and the Trojans season, with a 25-13 win.

Even with the loss, Davis saw some positives from her players throughout the night.

"Myrissa Garber did a great job of hustling and getting the ball up to our hitters," Davis said. "Sadie Little also did a great job of adjusting to E.V.'s hitters on defense and hustling after loose balls."

Garber was one of three seniors on the Trojan squad, finishing the match with 11 assists, five digs and eight of eight from the service line. Riley Danner, another senior, contributed with two kills and one dig. The third senior, Hannah Miover, ended her last match with five digs and six successful serves.

Some of the juniors stepped up their game to keep the Trojans close. Little led the team with 11 digs, to go along with four kills and one ace. Taylor Dowd also had a personal, tallying in four kills for the Trojans.

On the other side, Sydney Olson was the most versatile player for the Lady Bears. She contributed on both sides of the ball with 25 digs, 10 kills and missed one serve on 12 attempts. Maddy Shaw was another big contributor, tallying 22 digs, three kills and two aces, while only missing on one of 17 service attempts.

The tandem of Audrey Grove and Cheyenne Conrad, E.V.'s two bigs, combined for 21 kills, five blocks, one dig and one assist.

With the win, the Lady Bears traveled to HLV for the next round of Regionals on October 23.

"They have a left side hitting tandem that we will have to try and slow down," Becker said. "We have to make plays when they are there, stay aggressive and keep playing tough defense. If we do those things, anything can happen."