JOHN CURTIS Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — The Shelbyville Lady Ram 7th grade volleyball squad took care of business against Sullivan in the 1st round of the Shelbyville Regional on Tuesday, 25-16, 22-25, 25-15. They then had to turn around and play #1 seed Pana later that night and took the #1 seed to three games before ending their season, 10-25, 25-13, 18-25.
The Shelby 7th had to grow up on the run this year and fought to get just above a .500 record by beating Sullivan in round 1. They still finished breaking even with the loss to Pana with a record of 10-10.
The Sullivan match was almost a mirror of a recent conference contest between the two teams. Shelby won that match, almost in two, but needed three games.
“This match was a little rocky for us, “ said Ram 7th coach Brittany Pierce. “We struggled at the service line all evening and did not communicate well at all. We had a couple of long service runs in the 3rd game to give us some much-needed momentum.”
Savannah Marty finished the match with 20 points and seven aces to lead the Rams at the line. Blair Rodman served 16 points with four aces. Kendyll Dunaway served 15 points with six aces. The Rams delivered 20 aces in the 3-game set.
Jordan Bruder and Rodman were the double-net threat, both with five of the 15 team kills. Marty had a team-high eight of the 12 assists. There wasn’t much digging defense by the Rams, but Emmalee Storm led with two digs.
“These girls are capable of more that what they showed in this match,” Coach Pierce said. “I hope they come out ready to play for the next match against Pana.”
They didn’t come out very strong in game 1 against Pana, but they did fight to make it a 3-game set.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way these girls fought in this match,” Coach Pierce said. “We started out a little sluggish, but fought with all we had in games 2 and 3.”
After dropping game 1, 25-10, the Rams came back and turned the tables on Pana in game 2, winning 25-13.
Rodman and Bruder were once again the double-net threat. They were also the team leaders at the service line. They had four kills each of the 10 team kill-total. The Rams only served five aces, but Bruder had three of them. Bruder served 14 points and Rodman 11.
Bailee Buckles had a team-high four assists with Marty recording three.
One thing the Rams did do a lot of was mid-court defense. They recorded 26 digs. Shayla Darnell led the way with six digs, Marty and Buckles had four each and Bruder, Storm and Rodman had three each. Eight different Rams recorded digs.
Pana was led by a trio of players at the line and a quartet at the net. Danielle Epley served 10 points with two aces. Aubrey Funneman served nine points with three aces. Claire Holthaus served eight points with a team-high five aces.
Funneman and Grayson Beyers led the net attack with six kills each, Funneman and Grayson both added solo blocks for seven net points, each. Epley followed with five kills and Holthaus swung for four.
Holthaus and Epley also led the mid-court defense with six and five digs, respectively. Funneman dished out a team-high eight assists of the team’s 12 successful sets.
“The girls played with a lot of heart,” Coach Pierce said. But ultimately, we just couldn’t put a ball away. I know these girls are disappointed to see their season end, but I am so proud of the growth and improvement they’ve shown.”
Shelbyville (10-10, 4-5 Okaw) has a make-up match hosting Maroa on Friday at 4 p.m. Pana plays Meridian (#2-seed) on Thursday for the Shelbyville Regional Championship at 6 p.m.
Shelbyville 7-3A Regional
Shelbyville def. Sullivan, 25-16, 22-25, 25-15
Ram stats: Savannah Marty 20 points, 7 aces, 8 assists; Blair Rodman 16 points, 4 aces, 5 kills; Kendyll Dunaway 15 points, 6 aces; Jordan Bruder 4 points, 1 ace, 5 kills, 1 dig; Bailee Buckles 5 points, 4 assists, 2 kills; Maggie Furr 8 points, 2 aces.Shayla Darnell 2 points, 2 kills,1 dig; Emmalee Storm 2 digs; Mallorie Mason 1 kill, 1 dig.
Pana def. Shelbyville, 25-10, 13-25, 25-18
Ram stats: Bruder 14 points, 3 aces, 4 kills, 3 digs; Rodman 11 points, 1 ace, 4 kills, 3 digs; Marty 9 points, 3 assists, 1 kill, 4 digs; Shayla Darnell 3 points, 1 kill, 6 digs; Buckles 7 points, 4 assists, 4 digs; Dunaway 6 points, 1 ace; Furr 3 points, 1 dig; Storm 3 digs, Mason 2 digs.
Pana stats: Danielle Epley 10 points, 2 aces, 5 kills, 1 assist, 5 digs; Aubrey Funneman 9 points, 3 aces, 6 kills, 8 assists, 1 block, 1 dig; Claire Holthaus 8 points, 5 aces, 4 kills, 6 digs; Brenna Dameris 2 kills, Maddie Hackler 4 points, 1 kill, 3 assists; Madison Hilbert 2 points; Lily Anderson 2 digs; Taylor Gibson 1 point, 1 ace; Allyssa O’Rourke 1 kill.