The win earned the Eagles their first-ever regional final Saturday at 2 p.m.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
STOW -- With his team trailing 14-5 in game one of its Division II regional semifinal Wednesday with Rocky River, Hubbard High volleyball coach Chuck Montgomery was just hoping to finish with momentum heading into game two.
Instead, the Eagles did one better.
Hubbard rallied to win that game 16-14 and then disposed of the Pirates 15-9 in game two.
The win earned the Eagles their first-ever appearance in the regional final Saturday at 2 p.m. against Mentor Lake Catholic.
Lake Catholic defeated Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in the other semifinal match, 15-10, 5-15, 17-15.
Wake-up call: "[Rocky River] is a great team, but we played so well," Montgomery said. "We were down 14-5 in the first game and from that point on we decided we better start playing because we're a better team than that.
"We're a team to be reckoned with at 26-1 and we have momentum heading into Saturday against Mentor Lake Catholic."
Hubbard looked tentative in the opening few plays of the game and Rocky River took advantage, jumping out to a 4-0 lead.
"We've been here [regionals] a number of times and the atmosphere is intense," Montgomery said. "It took a while for us to settle down."
But before the Eagles had settled down, they found themselves down 14-5 as Rocky River featured the strong net play of 6-foot-2 junior Katie Tobias.
Hubbard's own big-time player, 6-1 Katy Jo Mroski, was just beginning to warm up.
Mroski served the Eagles to five straight points with some impressive jump serving and Hubbard found itself trailing 14-11.
"At that point it goes from us believing we can do it to Rocky River now starting to think that maybe they can't do it," Montgomery said. "Momentum plays such a role in a game like this."
Hubbard tied the score at 14 and then claimed the victory by earning a side out on a kill by Mroski and then scored the game winner on another kill by Mroski
Hubbard dominated the second game. Nicole Pringle served three aces during a nine-point run, which gave the Eagles a 10-2 lead.
That game was an excellent example of Hubbard's strong team play as it served, passed, blocked and hustled its way to an easy win.
Contributors: Pringle, Mroski, Nyelia Page, Amanda Lingenfelter, Amy Falhamer and all the Eagles played outstanding team volleyball.
"We like to play from behind," said Mroski. "When you are behind you have to watch what you are doing, but once you are ahead we had this energy and you can do all the little things.
"We were able to have fun."
Mroski showed she was the best all-around player in the regional tournament, but Montgomery and Mroski said that team play has gotten the Eagles to this point.