UNIONVILLE — Bishop Shanahan has a very unique one-two punch.
You may already know senior Rita Shultz who has established a name for herself in the program. Now Rita’s sister, Renee, joins the team as a freshman; completing the unlikely combo on the frontline for Shanahan.
The sisters’ combined 14 kills and 10 assists led Shanahan to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-23) match win over rival Unionville in Unionville Tuesday. Also starring in the win was senior Haley Kleespies who led the team in digs (8), assists (24), and blocks (3).
“I still think we are trying to figure some things out but we are working really hard,’ Shanahan head coach Greg Ashman said afterwards. “We have struggled a little bit with consistency but I really like the way the girls are listening thus far in the early going. We stress a lot of little things and discipline and when we do those things well it really helps us,’ Ashman added.
The first set was a see-saw battle throughout. The teams exchanged long rallies and seemed to be trying to feel out one another’s strength and weaknesses. There wasn’t a lead bigger than one point until Shanahan senior Katie Lemhney went up and had an impressive block, sending the ball right back to the Unionville side. That gave Shanahan a little boost and they were able to hold on 25-23.
“I thought our energy was slow to begin with, but after the first series of points we were able to pick it up but Unionville did a really good job, they were a tough competition,’ Shultz said.
In the second set, Shanahan was in full control. Their front line of the Shultz’, Kleespies, Alexa Marcum and Emily Elder were controlling the net and blocking Unionville’s set pieces with regularity. Also, Shanahan’s service game was on point as they cruised to a 25-14 set win.
The third set was much of the same as the first set. It was tight throughout but this time it looked like Unionville had the momentum and were going to take this match to a fourth set.
The Unionville sophomore duo of Jessica Homitz and Alli Lowe found their groove on the set pieces. They found themselves up 23-18 with a fourth set in their sights.
However, Shanahan came storming back with a few boomers from the Shultz sisters. They took the last seven points of
the third set for the victory.
“It shows a lot of character, we have found ourselves down a couple times this season and we have been able to fight back in so we knew we could do it,’ Ashburn commented afterwards.
“Our team is really resilient, Rita Shultz added. “In times like that you can either lose the game and not feel bad about it because you are so far behind or you can really push and try to win that, I’m just so glad of our team’s effort.’
The win improves Shanahan’s record to 5-1 and the Eagles are picking up right where they left off last season. They play next at home on Thursday against Kennett. Unionville drops to 3-1-1 with a road match at Oxford looming on Thursday.
“We have to just take this momentum and keep rolling with it. That was a big match for us to win, that’s a good team. We have a lot of tough matches coming up so we need to keep pushing,’ Ashman remarked.
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