Over the last few seasons, Brecksville-Broadview Heights has ruled Suburban League National Conference volleyball with an iron fist.
The Bees have reached the regional final each of the last three years and won the Division I state title in 2016.
So the fact Stow-Munroe Falls was able to take down the Bees in four sets Tuesday was no small feat.
Stow scored a 25-11, 25-17, 22-25, 25-17 win over Brecksville at the James G. Tyree Gymnasium.
The victory followed a successful run last Saturday at the Jackson Invitational, as the Bulldogs went 2-1 against some top level competition. Stow opened by defeating Marlington 25-14, 25-19, lost to Jackson 13-25, 24-26 and then won 25-17, 15-25, 25-21 over Solon in the third-place match.
With the wins, Stow improved to 10-4 overall and 6-1 after its first spin through the National Conference.
Bulldogs coach Lizzy McDade said there was jubilation in the Bulldog camp after the win.
"Brecksville was missing two of their players, but I still feel like we played well on our side," McDade said. "It was huge [to win the first set]. Our whole thing was to come out and take care of what we need to. We did that in the first set. There were a couple hiccups in the second set. We let down in the third set, but came back well in the fourth."
Stow got contributions from all over the floor against the Bees.
"Our passing was definitely on that night," McDade said. "We were able to get a lot of people involved. There were a high number of digs from a lot of girls, as well."
Senior outside hitter Lizzy Stefanov finished with 16 kills, two aces, two blocks and nine digs, while libero Claire O’Verko has 18 digs and setter Lauren Fair had 40 assists, 11 digs and two aces.
Sophomore Ryleigh Scheline added nine kills, while middle hitter Molly Richards had six kills and two aces. Middle hitter Sam Croyle had six kills and three blocks in the win. Senior Brooke Britton had nine digs.
Stow opened the Jackson Tournament with a relatively easy win over the Dukes.
"Luckily, we were pretty much doing what we needed to," McDade said. "If you watch high level volleyball, a lot of times it’s point for point. I told the girls, I’m not going to get on them for not keeping it tight. It kind of allows them the freedom to play."
Fair handed out 17 assists vs. the Dukes, with Stefanov getting eight kills and Schelien getting sixth. Britton had four aces, while O’Verko and Fair had seven kills each.
According to McDade, Murphy’s Law was in play for Stow during set one against Jackson.
"The nice way to put it is to say that everything fell apart for us," McDade said. "Nothing was falling our way. In game two, we were able to get back to playing the game our way. I was happy with how we played in the second set."
Fair had 23 assists and six digs in the loss, while Stefanov had nine kills and eight digs. O’Verko put up 21 digs.
After losing to Solon in August, McDade said her team was ready for the Comets.
"Solon beat us pretty decisively the first time around," McDade said. "It was nice to be able to capitalize on the opportunity."
Fair had 22 assists and 10 digs in the win, while Stefanov had 11 kills, three blocks and six digs. Sam Croyle added five blocks, while O’Verko had 14 digs. Schelien had nine kills and seven digs.
Stow was set to host North Royalton Thursday at Tyree Gymnasium.
The Bulldogs have a full week ahead, as they will host Tallmadge Monday, travel to Wadsworth Tuesday and visit Nordonia on Thursday. Varsity game time is set for 7 p.m. for all games.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC.