Law played together to make state tourney run
You are what your record shows you are.
And after coming into the season with only three seniors — and a lot of question marks — Jonathan Law coach Stacy Loch loves the mark that her Lady Lawmen placed in the ledger.
“We were excited coming into the season,” Loch said after her team completed an 18-6 season with a trip to the Class M semifinals. “Right at the end of last season, the girls were looking forward. They put in the hard work and played together throughout the summer.”
This marks the third time that Loch, now in her 12th season, has taken a team to the semis or beyond. Her 2008 team reached the Class M finals before losing to RHAM of Hebron.
The best decision the Lady Lawmen collectively made was naming rising-seniors Pam Ellison and Katie Eighmy as co-captains.
“They are the heart and soul of this team,” Loch said of Ellison, a libero, and Eighmy, an outside hitter. “They love volleyball and they brought that seriousness with them every day.”
Ellison had 10 digs and three aces while Eighmy had five kills and six digs for the No. 11 seeded Law team in its 3-1 loss to Weston High in the semifinals.
“It was important,” Ellison answered when asked if being a captain brought about added responsibility. “Volleyball is a fast-paced game. Katie and I decided we couldn’t take it easy just because we had so many younger players. We all had to push that extra mile.”
Eighmy said: “It was all about fundamentals. Pam and I worked hard each day helping them learn that there are no little things. Everyone contributed. We improved so much over the season. The way the younger players responded was amazing.”
Eryn Mower and Olivia Kowalski shared setting duties.
Madi Lula and Katie McNellis played outside.
Alexis Neider and Eden van Waveren were middle hitters.
Caroline Chesson and Emily Morey were back row and service specialists.
“At the beginning of the year, because of sickness and injuries, we had to try and find the right rotation of players,” Loch said. “Individually each girls had talent...The key for us was getting each of them in the right place to display that talent.”
In the state semifinal, Lula (10 kills), Chesson (3 kills), Mower (12 assists) and Kowalski (10 assists) put up good numbers. All 10 players were accountable for keeping points alive.
Law won the first set with Weston, 25-21.
The Trojans kept feeding its middle hitters — Katherine Anderson and Eliza Maestri — and swept the next three sets to earn a berth in the finals where they lost 3-1 to No. 1 seed Seymour.
“Yesterday we put a big chair in the middle and asked the girls ‘What are you going to do?,’” Loch said about the challenge of preparing for the 6-4 Anderson and her 6-2 sidekick Abby Glasberg. ‘How are you going to adjust?’”
Reality won over theory, as Anderson finished with 17 kills, Maestri 15 kills and Glasberg was a force with four blocks in Weston’s 21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-19 victory.
“Law gave us a run for our money,” Weston coach Mackenzie Robens said. “A focus for us was our defense at the net against them. In the end our blockers came through.”
Game one was tied three times in the first service rotation, including 11-11. Anderson kept adjusting her strike angles to carry the Trojans. It took a fine service game by Morey, who had her team’s third ace in a three-point run, to make it 22-19 Law.
An Eighmy kill, and then a spike and tip from Neider gave Law the win.
Weston’s 25-17 match-tying decision in game two was marked by the emergence of Maestri and Kathryn Joyce (5 kills). Law had 14 errors as the Trojans took a 21-13 lead.
McNellis took over serve after a winning side out by van Waveren, and the locals fought off three set points before Weston took a 2-1 lead in games.
The third set was a tour de force by both squads. Long rallies with exceptional will displayed by decided most points. Law led 11-10 after the first rotation, and Ellison made it 19-17 with an ace and an Eighmy dig that led to a Neider block. Weston setter Kelly Rosemann then served her team in front with five points. A Neider spike was good for a side out, but Maestri ended any possible drama with a well-placed kill for the 25-20 win. Law looked to force a fifth set, but Weston libero Grace Donnelly (16 digs) made extending the match difficult.
“There were so many things,” Loch answered when asked what stood out for her team. “We played great defense, then were taken down but picked it right back up. We were resilient and turned it around in each game. Weston just played so well. I’m proud of my team.”