No matter how far down the Lady Eagles may find themselves, they can never be counted out.
Ellison swept Shoemaker 25-23, 25-21, 25-14 on Tuesday night on the road in front of a packed Grey Wolves gym.
“To be honest with you,” Ellison head coach Sarah Stolley said, “I’ve never seen a crowd like this at a volleyball game.
“It was fun. The girls deserve it, and it should be like that every volleyball game because the girls deserve it — Shoemaker and us.”
The Lady Eagles (4-1 12-6A) came in looking to extend a three-game winning streak, but the Lady Grey Wolves made it a battle until the end.
The first set started with a long rally, with the teams sending the ball over the net six times behind digs from Lady Wolves libero Nicole Pena and Ellison’s Jaraysia Hope.
Finally, a kill from Chantele Cancel gave Ellison the first point.
Attacks from Cyra Thompson and Semira Fields quickly put the Lady Eagles ahead, but the Lady Wolves answered with kills from Alexia Wilkinson and Emijah Spencer to tie.
Ellison and Shoemaker (2-4 12-6A) tied ten times and there were six lead changes in the first set.
The Lady Eagles were down 22-19 when Stolley called a timeout.
“We’ve been here before,” Stolley said of her team being down late in the game. “We’ve found ourselves in this situation quite a bit this season, but it always turned out favorable because of their mental toughness.”
Ellison kept its head in the game as Jakarta Hope set up Thompson to lightly tap the ball over the net and into a hole in the defense to tie the game at 22.
Thompson kept attacking the gaps in the Shoemaker defense before she delivered the final kill to end the opening set.
“There was a big crowd,” Fields said. “They could have taken us out of our focus, but we didn’t let anything get in the way and just did our job.”
Building off the momentum, the Lady Eagles took an early 7-2 lead in the second set before forcing the Lady Grey Wolves to call timeout.
Shoemaker rallied behind kills from Tyra Williams and Cherith Hicks, but block attempts kept sending the ball flying out of bounds.
Coach Merdith Shaw-Moore used the Lady Wolves second timeout early in the set and it got Shoemaker refocused enough to cut Ellison’s lead in half, 14-7.
The Lady Wolves pulled within three points, but Ellison slowly started to pull away once more before blocks from Hicks and Wilkinson, followed by a kill from Spencer, put Shoemaker down by three before the Lady Eagles went on to win the second set.
“I appreciate the fans support,” Moore said. “When I first came here and we had games you probably saw 10 people in the stands on a Tuesday night for a volleyball game.
“A lot of times when it’s football season, other teams get unnoticed but it meant a lot to me and my girls.”
Through all the excitement, the Lady Eagles focused on the game and pulled ahead 7-1 before taking the final set 25-14.
“We made more mistakes than they did,” Moore said. “The team that makes the least mistakes wins the game.”
Fields led the Lady Eagles with eight kills and three blocks. Thompson was second with five kills.
Spencer ended the night with four kills and two blocks for the Lady Wolves, Wilkinson recorded two kills and three blocks.
Ellison hosts Waco on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
“Several times in timeouts I was telling the girls to tighten up on things,” Stolley said of her team. “It’s the little things that will make a difference in district.”
The Lady Wolves have a bye from 12-6A play Friday.
TUESDAY'S 12-6A VOLLEYBALL
- Ellison def. Shoemaker 25-23, 25-21, 25-14
- Harker Heights def. Waco 25-11, 25-8, 25-13
- Temple def. Killeen 25-18, 25-11, 25-15
- Waco Midway def. No. 5 Copperas Cove 25-22, 17-25, 19-25, 26-24, 15-13
- BYE: Belton
- No. 5 Copperas Cove at Belton, 5:30 p.m.
- Harker Heights at Temple, 5:30 p.m.
- Waco at Ellison, 5:30 p.m.
- Waco Midway at Killeen, 5:30 p.m.
- BYE: Shoemaker