WOOD RIVER — The Roxana Shells volleyball team overcame a one-game deficit to defeat the East-Alton Wood River Oilers 15-25, 27-25, 25-21 in a non-conference contest at Wood River on Tuesday.
“We're in the habit of losing the first game and then winning the second and third,” Roxana coach Mike McKinney said after the 2-1 win. “I can't knock the never give up attitude, but we have to get over the first game jitters and be more aggressive in the first-game.”
The Oilers (4-6) established a 6-3 lead early in the first game and continued to control the lead for the rest of the game. East-Alton Wood River put together a momentum building 11-1 run to make the score 23-11. Christen Falstitch served during the run and the Oilers won the first game 25-15.
In contrast, the second game proved to be a closer affair. Roxana established a 6-3 lead early in the game but never pulled ahead by more than four points. The game was tied five times, including 25-25. With senior Kara Meyer serving, Roxana put together a two-point run to win 27-25. McKinney mentioned Meyer as making a difference in defense and spiking.
“Kara Meyer is our senior leader and captain,” he said. “She's all over the court and she's giving up her body and her back is hurt and her elbow is hurt. She's an emotional leader and the girls feed of of her. Sometimes she gets vocal and sometimes the girls don't like it but that what a leader does.”
East-Alton Wood River coach Patti Scott felt her team could have been more aggressive.
“I don't think we played our game,” she said. “When you count my hits in the first game as compared to the second-game, we were way down. It was like we were playing cautious. I really don't understand it sometimes. But his (McKinney) team, all around, I thought they played really well. They were very consistent throughout the match. ”
The third game was tied four times early, last at 8-8. Roxana's four-point run made the score 12-8. With Falstitch serving again, EA-WR put together a four-point run to establish a 13-12 lead. Falstitch's ace made the score 12-11 and Lexi Johnson's kill gave the Oilers the one-point lead, but the momentum wouldn't last, as EA-WR never controlled the lead again. Roxana won the third game 25-21. Scott also said that her team's communication could have been better.
“We talked about it between game one and two,” she said. “They just didn't have the determination that said 'we're not losing this as a team.' It was more like we have one under our belt... getting one under your belt is not going to do it for us.”
Scott also said she was pleased the way her team fought back from behind.
Braeden Lackey led the Shells with 11 kills in the win, while Meyer chipped in with seven. Brittany Alexander led with nine service points.
EA-WR is back in action at 6 p.m. Thursday in Prairie State Conference action at Nokomis. Roxana returns to South Central Conference play at 6 p.m. Thursday, playing host to Litchfield.