LOUISVILLE — Erie volleyball’s four-set win at Monarch on Tuesday night proved the perfect metaphor for its season to date.
The Tigers, who defeated the Coyotes, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-13, overcame a rough first set riddled with service errors to earn their third win of the season. Senior outside hitter Rowan Ramsey sealed the game-winner on an ace after her team cleaned up its earlier mistakes.
“I think that was definitely a better way to end the match than how we started,” she said. “We had a little bit of a rough patch in the beginning, but I think that we came together as a team at the end. I know that all of us, we’re struggling a little bit in the communication at the end, so just to finish strong and together and on an ace is good.”
Erie has shown a bit of a learning curve early in its season, a year after saying goodbye to its head coach and six seniors. Tuesday’s result was a step in the right direction, both for the team’s confidence and their season at large.
Junior middle blocker Mackenzie Greenlee secured 34 kills in the match as Ramsey added 31 more. On the other side of the net, Monarch senior outside hitter Mia Prater earned 12 kills, senior outside hitter Leah Kugel contributed seven more and junior libero Maddie Brotz ended with 16 digs.
Monarch, on the other hand, has had to find ways to play through injury after injury and illnesses to go along with them. The Coyotes took the first set as a positive sign, as the ladies held off a late surge from the Tigers.
“We were really scrappy, and we had a lot more energy,” Brotz said. “And then I think after one of our middles got hurt, it just kind of threw us off and we were also missing a setter. I think we just kind of lost a lot of energy. We’re either on or, I feel like, we’re off.”
The Coyotes (1-6 overall, 0-2 Front Range League) started off the first set on a hot streak, leading by as much as 13-8 near the midway point. That advantage proved pivotal throughout the last few volleys when Erie (3-3, 2-0) tried to stage a comeback.
That Tiger campaign fell short as Monarch muscled out a 25-23 victory.
The two squads overcame service issues from the first set to engage in a point-for-point battle in the second, as neither team managed to gain much of an advantage until they tied at 16 apiece.
From there on out, Erie pulled away to force at least a fourth set with a 25-19 final. The Tigers carried the momentum into a strong third frame, where they claimed an early lead and never relinquished it before winning 25-16 in the third set and 25-13 in the fourth.
“I definitely think we’ve had some struggles in the beginning of our season,” Ramsey said. “We are 3-3 now and I think coming through the season, with the confidence it gives us all, we know we can go through these different lineups. We experienced a different lineup today.”
The Tigers will now look to continue their winning streak when they host Broomfield on Thursday night as Monarch looks to bounce back at Fort Collins on the same night.
“I’m hoping once we become more of a team too and learn how to work with each other, things start to look a little better,” Brotz said. “I think we’ve had some really good digs. Our service receive’s been really good and I think we’ve had some really good hits.”