Young Shorewood girls volleyball team overcomes injury and prevails in own tourney
Coach's sibling rivalry settled for now
In the end, it was all in the family in the final of Shorewood's nine-team girls volleyball invitational on Saturday.
Coach Ryan Roessler's host Greyhounds overcame a critical injury and a defeat in pool play to down Waukesha South, 25-20, 14-25, 15-10, and earn the championship in their own nine-team tournament on Saturday.
The Blackshirts are coached by Roessler's sister, Katie
"It was a bittersweet win beating South for the championship," Ryan said. "Katie is the coach there, and she is also in her second season (like me) trying to turn around that program. They have come a long way over two seasons and they played very well all day.
"… As far as what this does for us, I think it's a huge confidence booster for the team. This is a young group that is improving every day, and they are proving they can play with some tough teams. We will continue to improve and hopefully we can continue to build on this tournament win and stay healthy."
The Greyhounds are at Whitnall for a Woodland Conference dual at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and then take part in the New Berlin West Invitational on Saturday.
None of which will likely be as dramatic as the finish of the Greyhounds' own tournament.
Tough going in pool play
After a bruising pool play competition in which the Greyhounds went 3-1 in match play, Shorewood beat a tough Wauwatosa West team that had been undefeated all day in two straight games in the semifinals while South beat St. Thomas More in the other semi.
"I knew that the championship match was going to be tough," Ryan said. "South had beaten us earlier in the day in a match that went to three games and this was going to be our seventh match of the day."
The drama increased in the first set when freshman setter Megan Eimers had a collision with another player which took her out of the match. Ryan Roessler and the Greyhounds did not panic.
"Our second setter, junior Caitlin Baltus, went into the game having played only a few sets all day," Ryan said. "When Megan went out we very easily could have collapsed and let South run away with the tournament championship, but we battled through the first set and won. The second set we came out and made way too many mistakes and South killed us.
Team aggressive early
"… Game three, we came out knowing that if we put points on the board fast and attacked South while keeping the ball in play we would win the match. We traded points to start the game, we had a few huge hits and a couple errors by South and we quickly went up to a 10-5 lead. We traded a couple more points and eventually took the match.
"When we got to that third game, I think the girls realized that it was time to step up or we were done, and they elevated their play to a whole new level that we haven't seen them play at yet. Every pass was on the net and Caitlin hardly had to move for a single ball in that entire game.
"It was without question the best passing game we had the entire day."
Ryan was impressed by everyone on the team and noted that Eimers had been battling an ankle injury even before the collision.
"She gave it all she had," he said. "It was tough to see her go down in that last match but those moments are when teams find out what they're made of. Caitlin came into the game and set the ball well and the team found a way to finish. All of our girls stepped up that day. It was a team effort all the way around."
But the sibling rivalry isn't done yet, as South visits Shorewood for a nonconference dual on Sept. 27.
"That ought to be exciting," Ryan said.
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