Digging up the ball

Eastside’s Mataya Bireley goes all-out to bring up a spike during her team’s match with Churubusco at Saturday’s Garrett Invitational.

GARRETT — Eastside’s volleyball team finished fourth in Saturday’s Garrett Invitational.

The Blazers (3-10) opened the day with two hard-fought victories, beating Whitko and Churubusco in three sets each.

Whitko, who Eastside defeated in two sets in the Westview Invitational on Aug. 31, overcame a 25-21 loss in the first set to win the second 25-22. The Blazers captured the third set 15-11.

Eastside had lost to Churubusco Thursday in three straight contests and lost the first set Saturday by a 25-12 decision.

The Blazers fought back to win the second set 25-23. They took control early in the deciding contest and finished off a 15-12 win.

Eastside lost to eventual champion New Haven in the final pool match by scores of 25-15, 25-13 and to Blackhawk Christian in the crossover match, 25-15, 25-13.

“Very proud of how this team fought back in the two wins, especially against Churubusco after getting beat so bad in the first game and losing to them earlier in the week,” said first-year Eastside coach Kent Mitchell. “I had a parent from Churubusco come up to me after the game and told me our team is so fun to watch. I would agree.”

Against Whitko, Mataya Bireley recorded a team-high 11 kills. Breanika Steury had four and Eleanor Neumann added three.

Paige Franz had 16 digs and Bireley added 14. Jessi Gerke had 11 assists and Skyelar Kessler added 10.

Bireley, Kessler and Neumann served three aces each. Haleigh Liberty recorded two blocks.

Bireley and Erika Brock had eight kills each against Churubusco. Steury recorded one block.

Franz had 24 digs and Bireley added 13. Gerke had 10 assists and Kessler added eight.

Bireley, Gerke and Kessler had one ace each.

Against New Haven, Neumann had four kills. Bireley had three and Brock added two.

Franz and McKenna Elzey had five digs each and Gerke added four. Gerke had seven assists and Kessler added four.

In the Blackhawk match, Bireley had three kills. Brock and Liberty had one each. Kessler had three assist and Gerke added two.

Neumann served two aces, with Bireley and Kessler having one each.

Franz and Kessler had eight digs apiece. Brock, Liberty and Neumann had one block each.

Eastside visits DeKalb Wednesday.

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