In front of a packed house, the Swanton volleyball team did not disappoint their fans, sweeping visiting Evergreen 25-17, 28-26, 25-9 in Northwest Ohio Athletic League action Tuesday night.
“They came ready to play. For sure,” admitted Evergreen coach Nichole Thanasiu. “Coming into their house, we knew and expected (this atmosphere). Their fans showed up. Everybody showed up. They came ready to play.”
The turning point came in game two when the Vikings held slim advantages throughout but failed to pull away. They were just two points from victory, 23-21, following consecutive kills from McKenna Babcock and Naomi Brand. However, the Dogs tied it on a pair of Viking errors.
Later, Swanton trailed 25-24 following a Naomi Brand shot, then Jessica Dohm’s shot from the middle and a Katlyn Floyd ace put the Dogs in front. A Bulldog error knotted it at 26 before Swanton ended it thanks to a pair of points from Dohm.
“Finally we just got the right swings. The right rotation against their defense. Keeping their hitters on their heels with our aggressiveness on offense and our serving,” Swanton coach Kyle Borer said of the second game.
For coach Thanasiu, the difference down the stretch was easy to see. “They were able to put balls away,” she said. “So we need to really work hard on focusing on closing game-situations like that. They have some really good hitters and really good blockers. And they took us out of our offensive game for sure.”
Led by a strong effort from Alexis Sarvo, Swanton rolled to a 16-point win in the third and final set. Evergreen was within five, 13-8, early on after a Savannah VanOstrand bomb from the right side, but they could only muster one more point the rest of the way.
In the first set the Dogs came out swinging well, also cutting down on their errors. From the middle of the set until the end, they held at least a four-point edge.
“We cut down on our unforced errors – serving (and) hitting,” explained Borer. “Serve-reception was much better tonight. It allowed us to get in our offense a lot better. As a result, we swung pretty well. I didn’t think they could keep up with us at the net if we were in system a lot. And make them play defense consistently. That was to our benefit.”
Swanton had some freshmen stand out on the night, as Floyd finished with 10 kills and a block, and Sofie Taylor added three kills and six digs.
“The freshmen came in in their first league match in high school, man they played pretty (well),” said Borer. “As far as nervousness and stuff like that, they didn’t show that. Maybe the adrenaline was flowing a little bit for them to begin with, but they settled in and played a nice match.”
It will be back to the drawing board for the Vikings.
“We were shown today that our league is definitely tough,” said Thanasiu. “All the teams in our league are gonna provide us and everybody good competition. We definitely need to start working on our defense.”
Swanton (4-0, 1-0 NWOAL) hosts Delta Thursday and Edon on Saturday. Evergreen (1-2, 0-1) welcomes Tinora on Thursday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010