By all rights it wasn’t very pretty and at times it was flat out not very good, but Swanton persevered to take a three game sweep of Patrick Henry on Tuesday at home, 25-23, 25-20 and 25-20 to stay in the NWOAL volleyball title hunt with still just one league loss.
“All we’re looking for is to try to keep moving up that ladder,” said Bulldog leader Kyle Borer. “But yeah it wasn’t very clean, our serve receive was very shaky, we gave them too many opportunities with overpasses. Luckily we blocked better tonight than what we have lately and that helped us out against their attacks.”
After Courtney Rosebrook, Remi Bower and Halie Rohrs each accounted for a pair of Patriot points to give PH an 8-5 lead in the first set, Swanton setter Heather Williams helped bring the Bulldogs back to a 10-8 lead with a backset point and a dump off the set the Patriots let hit the floor.
However, just that quick a variety of Bulldog mistakes, six of the next nine points to be exact, bounced Patrick Henry back in front 17-13.
But the Patriots returned the favor, giving the Bulldogs four back along with two double block kills from Julia Smith and Claire Leidigh, and back-to-back slamming kills by the same pair of Bulldogs to give Swanton a 21-17 lead.
Patrick Henry again caught Swanton at 22, all on two left side hits from Bower and a couple more Bulldog errors.
However, after a double hit violation Leidigh pounded one through a Patrick Henry blocker and Sidney Taylor scored from the left side to end the set.
The second set went back and forth, then with Patrick Henry up 12-10, Swanton flexed their muscle.
Smith and Taylor combined on a double block that ignited a 14-1 run to seemingly put the Patriots away.
Taylor went through a block to score, Smith redirected a tip, Williams stuck an ace, Taylor scored with back-to-back kills, Smith redirected another tip for a point, Taylor went off a blocker, Smith went with a fake spike and tip move, then scored in the middle. Leidigh blocked Rosebrook on consecutive attacks before Smith again scored from the left side to make it 24-13.
“Our offense was really clicking then and our passing was efficient,” said Borer. “We took care of the three-balls they were giving us and used them to our advantage. But then all of a sudden we let them go on a run and we lost the momentum just a little bit.”
Patrick Henry went on a 7-0 run of their own as Rosebrook scored on a punch and slams twice off Bulldog overpasses, Bower hit twice from the left side and Taylor Ohlrich aced and hit from the right to make it 24-20 before Smith made an athletic adjustment to a bad set and punched in the winning point.
Swanton went up 11-6 in the third set, mostly thanks to PH errors, giving the Bulldogs eight points from either hitting the ball out, crossing the midcourt line, or serving mistakes.
Smith helped maintain that five point edge at 16-11 with a pair of blocks of Rosebrook but Patrick Henry chipped away on a shot into the corner from Natalie Herder and two Swanton violations to get within 16-14.
However, Williams’ push and Cydney Christensen’s left side kill regained control for Swanton and Smith finished the match scoring from the middle.
“It’s a three set win in the league, I’ll take it,” explained Borer. “We can relax a little bit until Saturday when we have Lake.”
The Bulldogs raised their record to 9-3 overall.
Joe Blystone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org