MUNSTER | Shayley Summers took a bottle near the end of the fourth game and got a fresh diaper in the middle of an intense fifth.
The three-month-old daughter of Tracy and Ryan Summers had no idea what was going on just a few yards away from her fourth-row seat Wednesday night at Munster Fieldhouse, but one day she’ll hear tell of it.
Her parents staged an epic volleyball match that ended with Tracy’s Munster squad beating Ryan's Marian Catholic team 25-21, 25-20, 24-26, 16-25, 15-7 in a matchup of Times No. 1 teams on opposite sides of the border.
Tracy improved to 2-1 all-time against Ryan in their careers as head coaches.
"It's exciting, because we both know so many players on both sides of the net," Tracy Summers said. "It's fun to try to guess what he’s thinking and see what strategies he uses. Other than that, it's a great opportunity for us to play a great team."
There were no side wagers between the new parents, but Ryan expected dish duty as they exited the gym.
"We didn’t say it, but it's kind of understood who's doing the dishes," Ryan said. "But in the end, Shayley wore a Marian ‘M’ on her shirt and not a Munster ‘M’ so I’ll take that."
The unbeaten Mustangs (12-0) ran to a 2-0 lead after winning a pair of games that were tied late. Marian (2-6), however, held close in a third game that was tied nine times. The Spartans scored the final three points of that game to win 26-24 and then dominated the fourth set 25-16.
"We get so focused the first two games and then back off a lot for some reason and don’t stay as focused," Munster hitter Antonia DalleCarbonare said. "Then we realized we need to step it up and won the last one."
DalleCarbonare led the Mustangs with 15 kills and 27 digs, while Shannon Farrell added 13 kills and 18 digs and several mental assists.
"We've been practicing talking about where to hit on the court," DalleCarbonare said. "We were telling each other where to hit, and it really helps us all see the opening and try to make a kill off of it."
The players picked up on the in-house coaching rivalry.
"We wanted to win for (Tracy Summers) and have bragging rights," DalleCarbonare said.
DalleCarbonare's defense was key to overcoming Marian spike specialists Amber Clay (19 kills), Colette Scheffers (15 kills) and Kenyl Todd (11 kills, 7 blocks).
After losing handily in the fourth set, Munster trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in the fifth game before running to a 7-4 lead and not letting Marian regain any momentum.
The Spartans had a spark of life in the middle of the match when Munster sagged, and Ryan Summers said that could be the turning point his team needs.
"Early on we had a game plan but just didn't execute it," he said. "It was nice to see us do much better in games three and four. We’re pretty excited about how we finished. We just got a little rattled at the end."