FAIRBORN — In a hot and muggy Fairborn High School gym, Fairborn coach Tiffany Smith knew her girls volleyball team would have a tough go at it against a veteran Beavercreek bunch. But she wanted to see how they responded to the pressure.
She liked what she saw. Despite a 25-12, 25-11, 25-16 loss, her team never let up.
“That’s the biggest change from last year,” Smith said. “We’re not shutting down as easily. We get down, but we’re always fighting back.”
Beavercreek jumped out front and stayed there for the first two sets. Beavers coach Tim Green frequently subbed players in and out of the lineup, and in the third set Fairborn jumped out in front 3-0 on a Dominique Redman kill and blocks by Kaitlyn Dunn and Taylor Rice.
It wasn’t until 11 minutes into the third set that Beavercreek took the lead for good. Spencer Franck dinked a shot to the left side after a lengthy rally to put the Beavers out in front 11-10, and Beavercreek outscored Fairborn 14-6 the rest of the way.
Green is reluctant to single out his players for any recognition above the team effort. “We win and lose as a team,” he said. But solid net play from Alison Malek and Jen Chaltry, and strong serves from Rebekah Hayes and Franck were key to the Beavers’ success in the third and final set.
The veteran Beavercreek coach said his team is still looking to find some winning consistency.
“Yeah, we’re still trying to figure some things out here,” he said. “We kind of approached that topic after the last game (a 4-set home loss to Chaminade Julienne). We decided it’s a new season, had a team meeting and had a good heart-to-heart discussion, and today I think we came out and played well as a team. That’s what we want to do.”
It’s been a season of ups and downs thus far for Beavercreek. The team has yet to win, or lose, in consecutive games. They’re now 4-3 overall, with the wins falling on every odd game on the schedule, and losses falling in between. They hope to break that routine on Tuesday when they’ll open Greater Western Ohio Conference, Central Division play at home against Huber Heights Wayne.
Playing a top-caliber volleyball squad like Beavercreek gave Fairborn’s Smith a chance to see where her team still needed some work.
“It shows us our weaknesses. It shows me where we’re falling apart, because (Beavercreek) is gonna put the ball where it needs to go,” Smith said. “And it helps the players see the level of play that they can attain, too.”
Destiny Patterson (hard hitting and consistency), Breanna Davis (digs) and freshman Camryn Joseph all earned Smith’s praise for solid play after the match.
Smith enjoyed Fairborn’s noise and enthusiasm against Beavercreek. With each solid hit, the Skyhawks players would emit a shriek of encouragement to their teammates. If wins were decided by decibel levels, Fairborn could’ve won.
“We’re obnoxious, we are. We’re an obnoxious team, but we’re fighting hard,” she said. “We have a couple injuries and a couple illnesses right now, so we’re dealing with that, but I was really happy with the way they fought back.”
Fairborn (4-3) begins GWOC South divisional play at 10 a.m. Saturday at home against West Carrollton. That match is part of a tri-match, which also includes Stebbins.
John Bombatch is Sports Editor for Greene County Newspapers. He can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.