Stow-Munroe Falls volleyball has made a habit of winning marathon matches this season.
Cuyahoga Falls has shown the ability to play well, even in losing efforts.
Unfortunately for Falls, both trends were snapped Sept. 13 at the James G. Tyree Gymnasium, as Stow made quick work of its backyard rival, winning 25-15, 25-12, 25-17.
Prior to the Stow loss, Falls picked up its first win in the Suburban League National Conference, beating Nordonia 25-20, 25-17, 17-25, 25-20 at home.
Falls then played a rare Saturday league game Sept. 10 at home against Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The state-ranked Bees won 25-13, 25-14, 25-18.
Falls' record stood at 5-6, 1-4 in the National Conference as of press time.
Falls coach Josh Stewart said the match with Nordonia was a scrappy affair.
It wasn't the prettiest of matches and Nordonia definitely didn't play their best, but a Suburban league win is always a good win," Stewart said. "We're starting to gel in certain ways that lead me to believe the girls are listening to me and each other.
"Consistency is still our biggest hurdle right now, but we're not giving away points nearly as much as two weeks ago. We're also getting a hand, defensively, on a lot of our opponent's swings, which tells me we're reading the offense better."
Senior hitter Emma Freeman and junior hitter Jacquelyn Shields each had nine kills in the win, while Freeman added five aces.
Setter Nicole Bechter had 20 assists, while libero Morgan Frame has had 17 digs.
Stewart said his team played decent against a loaded Bees team, noting Brecksville was "just a friggin' freight train."
Freeman had 10 kills in the loss, while setter Rebecca Postlewaite had 13 kills and two aces.
Stewart said the Stow game represented a step back for his young team.
"It was a case of two steps forward, one step back for us," Stewart said. "We've got a lot of new girls who don't know what it's like to play at this level, especially against Stow. I'm expecting better from them."
Stow coach Miguel Ramirez lauded his team for staying focused during a heavy schedule. Stow was playing its fifth match in a four-day span.
The Bulldogs didn't look fatigued early. Outside hitters Julia DiPaola and Lizzy Stefanov led the charge for Stow against the Black Tigers' front line.
Falls, meanwhile, committed a bunch of hitting errors in the first set. Stow led by as many as 17-6 in set one.
Stow senior outside hitter Turschak sealed the first set with a kill off a Falls' block attempt.
Set two was more competitive early, until Stefanov was able to run off seven straight service points to make it 21-10.
Falls wasn't able to recover from the run. A hitting error from Freeman gave Stow the second set.
"DiPaola and Stefanov are as good as any hitters we'll see this year," Stewart said.
Falls came out firing in set three, as Hannah Mertens put down some early kills. However, Stow came back to tie the set at 5-5.
It was nip-and-tuck through the middle of the set, which was tied at 16-16.
However, Stow sophomore Claire O'Verko got the serve with the Bulldogs up 19-17 and took it home. O'Verko scored four aces, including on match point, to close it out.
"We take pride in our serving," Ramirez said. "That's something we practice every day. O'Verko's always had a strong arm for serving. I think it's because of all that softball she plays."
"We were out of system a lot," Stewart said. "When you have to scramble, a lot of teams like Stow will come after you."
Stefanov led Stow with 11 kills, while libero Alyssa Tallarico had 12 digs and setter Lauren Fair had 11 assists.
Falls was led by six kills from Freeman, 13 assists by setter Rebecca Postlewaite and 18 digs from libero Frame.
Falls was set to host North Royalton Sept. 15 and travel to Massillon Jackson Sept. 17, but results were not available at press time.
Falls' lone match this week will be a trip to Twinsburg Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.