Roxana head coach Mike McKinney meets with the Shells' volleyball team during a timeout Tuesday at the Class 3A CM Regional semfinals.
Civic Memorial senior Summer Standefer lunges for a dig on Tuesday as fellow senior Julie Bruns looks on during a match with Greenville.
Roxana's Bailey McGuire prepares to serve against Jersey in the Class 3A CM Regional semifinals on Tuesday.
Saige Gehrs of the Eagles punches a kill over the net vs. the Comets on Tuesday.
Roxana sophomore Niah Bevolo gets ready to serve on Tuesday against Jersey.
CM's Annika Ochs serves to Greenville on Tuesday in the early semifinal match of the Class 3A CM Regional.
BETHALTO — It was a tough night for the Civic Memorial Eagles and Roxana Shells Tuesday in Bethalto.
CM started the night bowing out to Greenville 25-16, 25-18 in the Class 3A CM Regional semifinals. Roxana followed by losing 25-4, 25-20 to Jersey.
Top seeded Greenville (22-10) will now square off with No. 2 rated Jersey (17-13) in the regional championship at 6 p.m. on Thursday at CM.
The Eagles ended their season at 7-27, while the Shells finish up at 19-13.
In the early match CM was riding high from its comeback victory over Hillsboro on Monday. The Eagles began the match vs. the Comets trading point for point. They found themselves tied 5-5 with Greenville, highlighted by a couple kills from senior Alaina Trosley.
The Comets finally nabbed an 8-5 edge, but the Eagles responded with two kills from freshman Susan Buchanan and a kill from senior Saige Gehrs to climb even again.
CM continued to give Greenville fits. After the Comets grabbed a 14-10 lead, the Eagles again battled back, tying it at 14-14 with a kill from Kennedy Carnes and an ace from Sydney Marshall pacing the stretch.
But that proved to be the last time CM could catch up. After a couple points by the Comets, Kaitlyn Kappler cut it to 16-15 with a kill, but the Eagles were outscored 9-1 the rest of the way to drop the first game 25-16.
“I think volleyball is such a momentum game and when you have it you need to keep pushing and unfortunately (for CM) tonight we got that momentum in both games,” Greenville coach Alison Hall said. “We were fortunate.”
CM rallied back to begin Game 2, shooting out to a 4-0 lead. Saige Gehrs led it off with a kill, while Buchanan added a kill and Trosley had an ace, but the Comets refused to yield.
With the Eagles leading 6-3 after a combined block by Carnes and Marshall, Greenville constructed a 5-0 spurt to forge ahead 8-6. CM would draw even again at 9-9 and 10-10 on a Baleigh Gehrs kill, but it unraveled from there.
The Comets went on a marathon 13-1 run to go up 23-11. The Eagles made a valiant effort with Saige Gehrs spiking home a kill to get it 23-12 and after a CM service error made it 24-13, the Eagles went on a 4-0 run to dwindle it to 24-18, but it was too late. Greenville's Brooke Weiss laid down a kill to finish off the game and the match.
“All season we've just had a hard time putting a full game together and executing that into a solid match,” CM head coach Amanda Biggs said. “Unfortunately the runs we did have just weren't enough to dig us out of the holes that we dug.”
The Eagles now say goodbye to six seniors as, Saige Gehrs, Trosley, Tory Meiser, Julie Bruns, Summer Standefer and Monica Ledesma leave the program. Fortunately, there were a plethora of youngsters that earned valuable experience in 2014 with seven sophomores, a junior and a freshman contributing.
The future looks bright for CM.
“With the girls who will continue to be in the program, they know our expectations, they know what they need to do to be successful and I think this is a good building year for them and I expect some really good things from them next year.”
Buchanan and Saige Gehrs lead the attack with four kills apiece, while Bruns and Trosley led with seven digs each, Marshall dished out a team-best nine assists and Carnes had three assisted blocks, while Kappler had one solo block and one assisted block.
As for the Shells, it got ugly quickly. Game 1 was over almost as fast as it began.
The Panthers shot out to a 7-0 lead before Skye Mounce got Roxana on the board with a kill to cut it to 7-1. Another score shrunk the deficit to 7-2, but Jersey outscored the Shells 18-2 the rest of the way, including a 11-0 closing run.
“We came out flat the first game and it was the same thing we did against them when we played in the Alton Tournament,” Roxana head coach Mike McKinney said. “Their first service scored 10, today it was seven to put us in a hole. I told the girls, 'It doesn't matter what the score of the first game was, get it out of your mind and let's play better the second game no matter what. You're going to finish strong.' And I think we did play a lot better the second game.”
A couple of unforeseen changes to the lineup threw off the Shells' chemistry according to McKinney.
“Two of our starters, one was injured and the other had to sit out for disciplinary reasons, so we put a freshman and a sophomore in there,” McKinney said. “That's no excuse, but when you're used to the same six for 30 games it's different, but that first server (Sydney Hagen of Jersey) did a great job serving and she ate us up.”
Game 2 saw the Panthers jump out to a 4-0 lead, but this time Roxana swiftly sliced it to 4-3 and were only trailing 8-5 after a kill by sophomore Taylor Westfall.
Unfortunately, the Shells were never quite able to get over the hump, never owning a lead in the match.
They climbed as close as 21-19 following a 6-0 spurt. Erica Sheets started the run with a kill and Westfall added a pair of kills, Maddy Sheraka had a kill, Niah Bevolo had a kill and Morgan Liley turned in an ace over the run, but it wasn't enough.
Jersey closed out the game on a 4-1 run to earn a date with Greenville.
“We played them earlier in the season and did the same thing,” Jersey head coach Bob Siemer said. “We won the first game 25-10 and we jumped out to a big lead again tonight which was great. Sydney Hagen was our first server and she serves at 99 percent and I thought our blocking and our tipping at the net helped us. They've got some good hitters. Bailey McGuire is an excellent player and when you at least get a hand on the ball it makes it so much easier in the back row at least to pass and that really helped us out. We got our serves in, we received well and were good on the block. We were about as good as we could be in the first game. The second one, we could have played a little better but we hung on.”
Unfortunately for McKinney he now has to say goodbye to a special senior class.
Bailey McGuire added to her accolades Tuesday, tying 2003 Roxana grad Julie Perez with 625 service points for best in school history. McGuire already owns career-best digs, kills and aces marks and single season kills and aces records.
Liley leaves with a 99.7 percent serve rate. Her junior year of 2013 she didn't miss a serve, this year she missed one.
McGuire and Liley join Destiny Vongprachanh, Deb Bethel, Sheraka, Sheets, Mounce and Erica Griggs to leave a lasting legacy on the Roxana program.
“This group of girls won seventh grade regionals, eighth grade regionals, won it when they were juniors,” McKinney said. “They've been playing together since the sixth grade. They are great kids and I'm going to miss all of them, but it's part of life. It's like when you have kids, it's time to move on. They left their mark and I'm happy to have coached them. They've done everything I've asked of them.”
The sophomore Westfall led the Shells Tuesday with eight kills, while Mounce added three and Sheraka and McGuire each chipped in with two. Bethel and Bevolo both had six assists and Liley posted a team-high seven service points.