Ranked No. 4 in the state, the Eagles will play New Bremen (No. 2) at 4 p.m. Friday at the Nutter Center on the Wright State University campus in Dayton. Both teams come into the state semifinal match with 26-1 records.
“I think we’re always going to feel pressure just because it’s such a big stage and the stakes are high, of course, but our experience, being that we went last year is definitely going to help us a lot. We’re going to feel very prepared going into the match,” said Camryn Hedrick, a setter for Monroeville.
“Just because we were there last year, we know what to expect and I think a lot of our players are returning, so we have been on this stage before.”
The Eagles are returning to the semifinals for the second year in a row. On Saturday, the team defeated No. 12 Dalton (25-15, 25-17, 25-18) in a Division IV regional championship match at Uniontown Lake High School.
Hedrick and her teammates said being prepared and having gone to state last year has helped their mindset.
“It definitely keeps me calm,” the senior added.
The team is feeling the backing from the school and Monroeville community.
“We have a lot of support behind us, with the T-shirts that we have and our community buying tickets. We always have a big crowd which makes it even more exciting,” said senior Kortney Scheid, a defensive specialist.
The enthusiasm from the Monroeville crowd helps the players get energized during the match.
“I feel like it keeps all of our energy up because we get tired and sometimes we can get down, but hearing their support and (being upbeat) … brings it out in the rest of the team and helps keep us alive,” Scheid said.
Teammate Kelsie Palmer said she is “pretty excited” as the match nears.
“Like Camryn said, we went there last year and that helps us with our confidence. We are more comfortable going into it this year,” she added. “She (coach Kendra Snook) has a lot of confidence in us. She thinks we can go all the way. … I think we are both very good teams and it’s going to be a great match.”
The Eagles expect to have a big crowd at the Nutter Center.
“The fans are always excited to support us and I know they look forward to this. They are also very excited that we are going back to state and they want us to win,” Palmer said.
Senior Adrian Barman plays the libero position, a defensive specialist who controls the back row and defense.
“Last year we had Stacia (Stieber) and we were kinda trying to figure out who would play that spot,” Barman said. “It’s just a hard spot to do because it’s hard to fill the shoes of Stacia and how big of an impact she had on our team. You don’t realize how many roles she played overall until you have to fill them. It’s a lot in your head, but I think my team has helped me adjust overall.”
Last year, Monroeville lost to New Bremen in the state semifinals.
“Our nerves probably won’t be as high because we’ve been there before and we kinda know what we’re going into,” said senior Mirena Miller, who knows what it takes to prepare for state competition. “I’m really excited and I think our whole team is. We are excited to finish our unfinished business.”