ELYRIA — It was like Homecoming at the annual Elyria Power Quad volleyball tournament Saturday but the outsider definitely reaped the rewards.
Not only is Pioneers volleyball coach Jen Shouse an Elyria grad but so are Rocky River coach Karlee Bruck and Brookside coach Jenn Larrick. So, of course, Massillon Washington, with no direct Elyria ties and the team that traveled the farthest to be there, won the tournament.
The Tigers swept Brookside and Rocky River and came back to beat Elyria to improve to 16-2. The Pioneers were 2-1, Rocky River 1-2 and Brookside 0-3 on the day.
Elyria (9-7) could have easily been the winner. It had match point in the third game against Massillon but just couldn’t finish it off. The Pioneers won the first set easily, 25-16, but lost the next two 25-20, 26-24.
“We had really good intensity in that first set against Massillon,” Shouse said. “I’ve been telling them you just can’t take anybody lightly. They pounced on us and we just didn’t respond.”
After pulling away to a 23-12 lead in the first game, the Pioneers couldn’t find the rhythm after that. Massillon gave away five points with service errors in the first game but cleaned up that aspect of its game.
In Game 2, Elyria fell behind 19-12 before rallying to within 20-18 on a kill and an ace by Abby Monn, a kill from Madi Smith and a double-block from Smith and Kamie Reeser. Massillon, however, scored the next four points and won on an Elyria service error.
In the third game, the Pioneers were at match point at 24-23 but back-to-back kills by 6-foot-3 Brianna Dancy gave the advantage back to the Tigers. An Elyria hitting error ended the match. Dancy and Hanna Keane both had big games for the Tigers.
“They exploited weaknesses when we weren’t prepared,” Shouse said. “They did a good job of taking that from us.”
Monn continues to improve her overall game. The Pioneers’ main weapon all day, she had 44 kills and 27 digs and made several nice saves on defense.
“We started off very strong in the first set,” Monn said of the Pioneers’ match against Washington. “It was a team effort and everybody worked very hard together. Whenever we work as a team, we work very good. The second set we kind of fell apart. We didn’t have any energy. A lot of us were trying to pick up that energy but it wasn’t working out.
“The third set, we had to come hard. We had to win. We had to pick up our energy and we did that and came out with a win.”
“This is her first year playing back row,” Shouse said of Monn. “It’s still new to her. She can make some really good defensive plays. She’s getting a lot more confident in her abilities.”
Smith finished the quad with 18 kills, 29 digs and 38 assists. Adrian Petrisko, the libero, led the defensive effort with 41 digs.
Brookside may have lost all three matches but Larrick still came away with a positive experience.
“Against teams like this, it’s just good to see improvement,” Larrick said. “Oh-and-six in sets kind of stinks but if we can take what we learned and the energy we can play with and take it to our future matches, it’s a lesson learned.”
Brookside (5-8) hung tough in all three sets, losing to Elyria by just seven total points. Lauren Sheehan led the way with 20 kills and four aces. Jenna Rothman had 12 kills, two solo and two assisted blocks, while Leah Musall had 49 assists.
Ava Rauser and Olivia Young played well at the net for Rocky River (6-4), while Amanda Franz led the defense with 10 digs and Marissa Smiley had 22 assists.
“We got better as the day progressed,” Bruck said. “Slow start but we made huge improvements.”
Pioneer Quad Scores
Elyria 25-25, Rocky River 17-21
Massillon 25-25, Brookside 17-20
Massillon 16-25-26, Elyria 25-20-24
Rocky River 25-25, Brookside 17-13
Elyria 25-25, Brookside 23-20
Massillon 25-25, Rocky River 20-22