Down 9-6 in the fourth set, coach William De Gracia called a timeout and calmly spoke to his team.
The Lady Eagles were in a familiar situation, as Shoemaker had surged to take nine of Set 1’s first 13 points, 28 of Set 2’s first 29 points and never trailed through Set 3.
“I told my back row, ‘You got to watch them,’” De Gracia said. “‘They’re not coming strong, they’re tipping. You got to talk. We have to communicate. They’re tipping short. They’re going to tip corners so we need to be ready.’”
Ellison countered Shoemaker’s finesse and hustle with raw power, and won 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-16.
Junior Brianna Gray fiercely guarded the net, and killed 18 attacks, including two blocks.
“We’re learning how to fight,” she said. “(The win) gives us more confidence in the future, because we’re not giving up on plays. We keep playing until the end.”
“She’s a tremendous player,” said Shoemaker coach Merdith Shaw-Moore. “She played real hard. She hit hard, and it paid off for their team.”
Junior Kira Grenier added nine digs, Miranda Tapia had 30 assists, and Asia Howard notched 11 kills and 20 assists.
“We started to cover,” De
Gracia said. “We started to move.”
The Lady Grey Wolves played conservatively throughout, dodging long balls and pushing attacks.
“We played every single point,” Shaw-Moore said. “We didn’t quit. We didn’t give up.
“Unfortunately, we just fell a little short.”
The first two sets were tight tussles.
Shoemaker jumped out to a 7-4 lead, behind two kills by Tyriete Dixon and one from Anessa Pitts.
But Ellison then scored six straight, including a Gray kill and two consecutive aces by Hannah Zly.
Later in the set, two Chelyiss Pierce kills and one apiece from Angel Gavin and Aria Price helped the Lady Grey Wolves go on an 8-1 run.
Five Shoemaker errors, kills by Gray, Kaylai Lewis and Alysia Espada all doomed the Lady Grey Wolves to a first-set defeat.
In the second set, kills from Pierce, Price and Tyriete Dixon helped the Lady Grey Wolves dash out to a 12-7 lead.
But the Lady Eagles closed the set on an 18-7 run, partly thanks to kills by Bryanna Sanchez, Howard, Espada and Gray.
While Ellison tied the third set at 11 different points, Shoemaker pulled away after the 22nd point, helped by two Lady Eagle errors.
The Lady Grey Wolves posted five kills en route to an 11-7 first-set lead, but two Gray kills capped an 8-0 closing run for Ellison.
Pitts had 32 digs, and Dixon added seven kills. Price and Pierce each had six kills and five blocks.