Things couldn’t have started much worse on the court for Morrison on Thursday in Three Rivers Athletic Conference volleyball against Erie.
Erie (13-13) scored 13 of the first 15 points and cruised to a 25-9 victory in Game 1. But Morrison turned things around and won the match 9-25, 25-16, 25-22.
“The first one was kind of ugly, but the girls bounced back,” Morrison coach Jennifer Medenblik said. “I’m proud of them.”
The Fillies (11-11) started their comeback trailing 7-6 in Game 2. An Erie hitting error evened the score. Alyssa Workman served an ace and Tyler Fuller knocked down one of her match-high nine kills to give Morrison a 9-7 lead. Morrison stayed in front for the rest of the game.
“I think we really came together as a team,” Fuller said. “At first we weren’t talking or moving our feet. After that, we opened our eyes and starting working as a team. We clicked better.”
Morrison extended its lead to 13-9 on an ace by Samantha Luedtke, but Erie tried to fight back. The Cardinals took advantage of a lift by Morrison and two Paige Rus kills to cut the lead to one point, but Morrison responded by scoring nine of the next 10 points to take control of Game 2.
In the first two games, Fuller served only twice and Morrison didn’t win either point — one was a service error. Libero Lacey Ryan took Fuller’s serving spot the second time her turn came around in Game 2.
“I don’t know what was going on,” Fuller said. “I was just not concentrating. I was frustrating myself.”
But in Game 3, Fuller stepped to the service line after a kill by Brooke Elliot put the Fillies ahead 6-3. This time, she served three aces in a row to extend Morrison’s lead to six points.
“I was really pumped,” Fuller said. “I was ready to win. I feel like my team was behind me. I was behind my team with those serves. I was excited.”
Morrison extended its lead to 12-5 on a kill by Elliott — who led the team in assists and was second in kills — but then Erie went on a 6-1 run to cut the Fillies’ lead to 13-10. Fuller put a quick stop to that with kills on three of the next four points. Then she and Allison Renkes combined on a block to put the Fillies back ahead 17-11.
After the teams traded the next two points, Fuller served three more points in a row, including her fourth ace of the game, to put Morrison ahead 21-12.
“I really think the crowd helped me,” Fuller said. “They were here to watch us, and I felt like we needed to win for them.”
The teams traded points again. Then Erie started its comeback attempt. The Cardinals scored eight of the next nine points, including three kills by Tess Burns, to cut the deficit to 23-21.
Workman drilled a kill to give Morrison a match point. Rus slammed down a big solo block for the Cardinals, but Erie committed a hitting error on the next play to give Morrison the win.
“Their defense was really good, and they improved their serve-receive,” Medenblik said of what changed for her team. “They were struggling with their serve-receive the first games. Their serves were not going in, either. I think those two things made the difference and they kind of got on a roll. Then they got excited and kept going.”
Another thing the Fillies had was the play of Fuller and Elliott. In Games 2 and 3, it seemed every time Morrison needed a point, one of those two provided it or facilitated it.
“Brooke is our captain, so she definitely knows how to take the lead. I feel like me and her have (good) chemistry,” Fuller said.
“They’re both really good leaders,” Medenblik said. “They can really hit the ball. It seems like if they’re up, the rest of the team is up. The kids kind of follow what they do. If I need something I can ask them to do it and they usually come through for me.”
While the Fillies were pleased, frustration was evident on the Cardinals’ sideline.
“Seeing what they did the first game and then the way we finished was pretty frustrating,” Erie coach Alicia Murphy said. “We’re coming down to regionals and postseason. Tonight is not the way we want to end a game.”
What the Cardinals did in Game 1 was dominate and take advantage of Morrison errors. With the score tied at 2, Burns stepped back to the service line. She served back-to-back aces to start a run of 11 points. She served back-to-back aces again later during that stretch and delivered a push attack for a kill. The other six points in the run came off mistakes by Morrison — hitting errors and net violations.
“They didn’t lose the first one because Erie played better than they did,” Medenblik said. “They lost the first one because they played worse than Erie did. They beat themselves.”
After Morrison cut the lead to 13-6, Kali Unruh and Courtney Cobert had kills for the Cardinals to push the lead back to nine. Morrison wouldn’t be closer than that again during the game.
“If we have matches or games that continue like the first game, we’re going to be a hard team to beat,” Murphy said. “It’s just getting them to be more consistent.”
Burns led Erie in kills and ace serves and was second on the team in assists.
Murphy said she thought her team relaxed after the easy Game 1 victory.
“I think they settled for the easy shots and tried to take the win the easy way,” she said. “Morrison is too good of a club to do that with. You’ve got to keep playing hard to take a game from them.”
MORRISON 9-25-25, ERIE 25-16-22
Kills — Erie 20 (Tess Burns 5, Paige Rus 5, Laykin Miner 4); Morrison 28 (Tyler Fuller 9, Brooke Elliott 8, Alyssa Workman 7). Assists — Erie 19 (Deanna Black 8, Burns 7); Morrison 24 (Elliott 12, Jessica Wieneke 9). Ace serves — Erie 5 (Burns 4); Morrison 7 (Fuller 4). Blocks — Erie 2 (Rus 2 solo blocks); Morrison 2 (Fuller 2 block assists).