Morgan Shick of Marysville digs the ball off the floor during Saturday’s match against Hilliard Bradley. The Lady Monarchs won their first two home matches of the 2021 season by beating Fairbanks and Bradley. Also pictured for MHS is Madison Fluharty (7). (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
The renovated gymnasium at Marysville High School saw its first volleyball action of the season on Saturday.
The Lady Monarchs defeated Fairbanks and Hilliard Bradley in running their season record to 7-3.
“We fought hard to overcome adversity and built unity as a team,” said MHS head coach Bethany Bentz. “The girls got after it and it was a great way to open our gym with its renovations.”
The Lady Monarchs not only won on their upgraded gym, but also wore yellow T-shirts during warm-ups.
That was in memory of MHS graduate Colin Tanner, who recently died after a battle with cancer.
Marysville beat Fairbanks 25-15, 25-12.
The Lady Monarchs (who will host Olentangy Berlin on Tuesday) followed with a 22-25, 25-22, 27-25 verdict over Bradley.
MHS was scheduled to play the Jaguars during the opening match and then face Fairbanks later in the morning.
That schedule was switched at the last minute when the Lady Panthers first arrived at MHS.
Marysville rolled its way to a sweep over Fairbanks.
The Lady Monarchs battled back from an 18-11 deficit during the first set against Bradley, but fell just short.
The second set was deadlocked at points four, five, six and seven.
Marysville took its first lead of 8-7 and expanded it to 10-7 on a kill by Carys Gossett.
Bradley rallied for a 14-13 edge on a mistimed Monarch set.
Jillian Gardner’s kill later tied the game at 16-16 for Marysville.
The Lady Monarchs took a 17-16 lead on Morgan Shick’s ace serve.
MHS later won the match after a kill from Natalie McNicholas.
The third set was where the Lady Monarchs revealed their grit.
The Jaguars jumped out to a 6-1 margin and extended their upper hand to 9-2.
Slowly, but surely Marysville overcame its hitting miscues and fought itself back into the contest.
MHS took advantage of several Bradley mistakes and also had solid hitting from Gossett, Madison Fluharty and Rylee Dundon.
Fluharty later came up with a kill that gave Marysville a 23-22 lead.
The match continued with its intensity as neither team asked nor gave any quarter.
The score was tied at points 24 and 25 before Dundon’s kill returned a 26-25 edge to the Lady Monarchs.
Hilliard Bradley then tipped the ball out of bounds for Marysville’s winning point.
After dropping their opening match to Marysville, the Fairbanks spikers (3-6) lost to Bradley 25-18, 22-25, 25-27.
“We started out slowly against Marysville, but maintained our competitiveness,” said Lady Panther coach Ryanne Ufferman. “We battled hard against Bradley, but hitting errors hurt us.”
Lady Monarch stats for both matches were as follows:
-Kills: Fluharty-seven, Dundon and Gossett-five each and Jillian Gardner-three;
-Assists: Katie Palmer-20 and Caitlin Rigel-five;
-Blocks: Gossett and Abby Altizer-three each and Fluharty-two;
-Digs: Morgan Shick-17, Alivia Codner-16 and Jayanti Geertes-13;
-Kills: Dundon-11, Gardner, nine, Fluharty, eight and Gossett-four;
-Assists: Palmer-21 and Rigel-15;
-Blocks: Gossett and Altizer-three each;
-Digs: Shick-21, Geertes-14 and Codner-12.
Panther stats were as follows:
-Zoe Schmidt: six-for-six serving, seven digs and three kills;
-Claudia Mueller: six-for-six serving, two aces, two kills and one block;
-Kaelynn Sphapmixay: five-for-five serving, two aces, one kill, 11 assists and seven digs.
-Schmidt: 21/22 serving, six aces, 12 kills, six digs;
-Sphapmixay: 11/13 serving, two aces, eight digs, five kills, 23 assists;
-Grace Gorton: 11/11 serving, one ace, 14 digs;
-Olivia Vollrath: nine/nine serving, 11 digs;
-Reese Poling: 13 digs, 9/11 serving.
Fairbanks will return to action on Tuesday at Greenon.
Fairbanks’ Aubrey Burns (30) returns the ball over the net on Saturday against Hilliard Bradley. Also pictured for the Lady Panthers is Kaelynn Sphapmixay (20). Fairbanks dropped matches to Bradley and Marysville during action at MHS. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)