EATON TWP. — Borrowing a line from Roberta Flack’s hit song from the ’70s, Midview was killing ’em softly in upsetting first place Elyria Catholic on Thursday night in West Shore volleyball action.
The Middies won 25-23, 25-23, 14-25, 25-18 to improve to 8-7 overall and 5-3 in the league. The Panthers fell to 11-2 and 7-1.
“(EC) was getting a little frustrated by that,” Midview coach Jen Shouse said of the soft tips that found open spots on the floor.
“We’ve been working on that — being more aggressive with out-of-system balls that we have to send over. The beginning of the season we were sending high, easy free balls to the middle of the court. (Setter) Meghan Higley did a great job moving the ball.
“I’m really impressed watching her over the three years on the varsity running antenna to antenna and really opening up the defense.”
“Our passers are really helping this year,” said Higley, who had 47 assists. “I felt like they really picked it up at the end of the game. I knew we were going to win Game 4.”
“(The Middies) wait for you to make a mistake,” EC coach Jen Lee said. “Their tipping game is there. They wear you down. Our primary hitters — I don’t know how many times they swung the ball. I think that’s what their method is — to wear you down.”
EC won Game 3 easily and built leads of 17-15 and 22-19 in the first game only to let Midview back in. In the second game, the Panthers had a 14-10 advantage at one point, only to see the Middies run off six points in a row to break a 16-all tie.
After the third game, it appeared the Panthers would ride the momentum all the way back, but Midview didn’t cave.
The Middies quickly took control at 8-3 off three straight perfectly placed aces in EC’s midcourt from senior Molly Albright. The Panthers crept back in at 20-17 off kills from freshman Jessie Lee and junior Caitlin Rock but Midview scored five of the final six points to win the match — the last three courtesy of sophomore Cassie Haight.
“It was the biggest adrenalin rush I’ve ever had in my life,” said Albright, who led Midview with 18 kills. “I just figured I had to go hard or go home.
This game was the biggest I’ve ever played in my life. I knew it was the last time we’d play (EC). I just wanted to go out strong.”
Both Albright and Higley had three aces on the night. Midview had five girls with at least a dozen digs, led by Alyssa Seljan with 14. Becca Mullins had 13 while Erin DiFranco, Haight and Higley each had 12.
“We’ve really been pushing defensively,” Shouse said. “I think we’re really getting into a groove. Our defense is really adjusting to what we’re doing and battling.”
“(The Middies) were defensive monsters,” Lee said. “You have to give them 100 percent credit. They came back as they did last season. The first match we blew them out but they’re like a great wine — they age beautifully.”
EC, playing without junior hitter Maryssa Kellick (ankle), were led by Lee’s 16 kills and Rock’s 11. Becca Pronesti had 22 digs and Lee 14. Brooke Nedrich had one solo block and four assisted blocks. Marie Vasitas had 24 setting assists and three aces.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.