PERRYSBURG – The Swanton volleyball team showed heart and determination in recovering from a 25-9 defeat in set one against Eastwood to take game two 25-23 in Wednesday’s Division III district semifinal at Perrysburg. However, the top-seeded Eagles, led by sophomore hitter Katelyn Meyer were too tough to handle, winning game three 25-17 and also game four 25-18 to advance.
“Overall, we just committed too many unforced errors tonight to beat a team like Eastwood,” said Swanton coach Kyle Borer on the loss. “Obviously we didn’t play our best match of the season tonight, but no one can take anything away from what we accomplished this year.”
In game one Swanton scored by way of three Claire Leidigh kills, three Eastwood serving errors, and points by Heather Williams, Sidney Taylor and Cydney Christensen. However, already with a 20-9 lead, Eastwood’s Ally Decker recorded five straight aces to close out the Bulldogs in set one.
Swanton was in control for most of the way in set two, opening up an 11-6 advantage with the help of a pair of kills from Leidigh, three points for Julia Smith and four Eagle errors. The Bulldogs then committed a hitting error, Eastwood’s Marisa Launstein pounded one through a block and Decker recorded a block-kill to pull the Eagles to within two, 11-9.
Karah Kohlman of Swanton responded with a shot through a block, but Meyer answered with a hit that just caught the back line on the Bulldogs’ side, while a Bulldog error and Bri Hoodlebrink’s kill from the left side tied the set at 12.
“She is a long 5’11” outside hitter that can get off the floor and she gets a lot of swings,” said Borer of Meyer who gave the Bulldogs trouble all night long. “I thought we defended her decently, but she still got kills here and there because she had so many opportunities. She was hitting right between our blockers because we were late and we didn’t fill the hole good enough in the back row in those sets.”
The two squads went back-and-forth from there until Christensen drilled a shot from the left, there were two Eagle errors, and a Taylor hit caught the back line gave the Bulldogs an 18-14 lead. Hoodlebrink then scored through a Swanton block, but Williams’ set that landed for a point and Christensen’s ace boosted their lead back to five.
Kills for Launstein and Meyer and Swanton errors knotted the score at 20, however, Smith’s shot down the middle and a pair of Eagle miscues put the Bulldogs back ahead by three.
Taylor’s kill from left that was wedged in between two kills for Meyer and another by Hoodlebrink made it 24-23, then Smith ended it for Swanton with a shot from the right side.
“We had more success in game two because we weren’t missing as many serves or committing as many hitting and serve receive errors as we did in game one. We were more consistent passing and we were getting better attacking opportunities,” explained Borer. “We were much more aggressive compared to the first game. I felt we were starting to turn the corner after game two and getting the nerves out, but we couldn’t sustain that success.”
The Bulldogs got down as many as eight points early on in set three but with the score 12-5 in favor of the Eagles, the Bulldogs made a mini-run.
First Taylor drilled a shot from the left, Leidigh got a block-kill and also a kill through an Eastwood block, then Meyer a shot from left for the Eagles and an Eagle serving mistake made it 13-9.
However, a Swanton serving error gave the point back, Eastwood’s Mackenzie Albright followed with an ace, Meyer a two-handed push and Hannah Hodulik a block-kill to make it a eight-point edge for the Eagles. Swanton would get no closer than five points throughout the rest of the set as the Eagles took a 2-1 lead in the match.
Meyer had five kills in game four as Swanton only led briefly at 3-2, and the Eagles took the set 25-18 to clinch the four-set victory.
“I am so proud of this group and the effort they put in to get here,” concluded Borer. “This senior class has definitely made their mark on this program and laid a foundation for our future. There is a lot to be proud of in Swanton right now.”
Leidigh finished with 12 kills and 13 digs to lead Swanton. Taylor added eight kills and 25 digs, while Smith had eight kills and 11 digs.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010