ELYRIA — Losing three games by almost identical scores is not the kind of consistency Jodie Johnson is seeking from her Elyria High volleyball team.
The Pioneers dropped their second match in as many outings Tuesday night, losing 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 to Northeast Ohio Conference rival Stow. Stow came into the match having won just once in four tries.
“It’s been an issue for us,” Johnson said. “We’re competing, we’re making good plays, we’re responding but then we get in a rut.
We’re going to keep pushing forward and see if we can’t get a little more consistency.
“It’s out of certain players, certain rotations — we just have to find out what is going to make us the most consistent.”
There were glimpses of good — if not great — play.
Senior Tyra Darden certainly knows how to knock down kills and senior Sybil Roseboro made some great defensive digs along the way. Senior setter Emily Gonzalez did a good job when the passes were made and junior hitters Carly Bachna and Abigail Elek made plays at times.
Johnson even utilized freshman Chelsey Farris with her first taste of varsity to replace the injured Mariah Johnson along the front line.
Darden led the way with 15 kills and digs and contributed three aces. Elek had a half-dozen kills, two solo blocks and three block assists. Gonzalez had 25 assists, but Elyria squandered leads in both the second and third games.
“We just need to gel,” Johnson said. “We need consistency and chemistry. Those are the two things we need to do better as the games progress.”
The Pioneers got off to an 11-5 lead in Game 2 only to allow the Bulldogs to tie it at 12. Again, Elyria led by 18-14 only to see Stow run off five straight points, take the lead and finish it off from a 22-all tie.
In the third game, the Pioneers had a 10-5 lead early and a 17-14 lead late only to give up runs of five and four points.
“We did a little better job with that,” said Stow coach Miguel Ramirez, who was an assistant for Johnson a couple years ago.
“It’s kind of been our issue so far in this young season. We get out to leads, score four, five points in a row, then give up four or five. We have a young but old team. We have six seniors who play but we start three freshmen and a junior gets in the rotation. You’re going to have those ups and downs.”
Stow’s front line was bigger and its setter — senior Lu Conrad — not only made some great assists but proved she could score as well. Seniors Jessica Guider and Anne West led Stow with eight and five kills, respectively.
“Mariah Johnson is out for us,” Jodie Johnson said. “She’s a big key offensive player. Hopefully she’ll be back on Thursday (versus Strongsville) and we should see a little bit more consistency on offense. We have some young bucks in there and we’re trying to work through our consistency issues. That’s one of our biggest concerns right now.”