The Northwest Ohio Athletic League volleyball season came to a close Tuesday night where in Wauseon, Swanton bested the hometown Indians 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 25-12.
The Bulldogs finish league play with a 5-2 record, while Wauseon closes at 3-4.
“Wauseon is always a tough gym to play in on the road in the NWOAL as well with a low ceiling and limited space, but we also have to deal with a great student section from their fans. I was very pleased with how the girls handled the atmosphere and kept their composure throughout the night. We talked about going out and putting forth our best effort mentally and physically and we had some key players definitely step up for us tonight,” said Swanton coach Kyle Borer.
Game one was a battle of momentum swings that saw Swanton take charge in the end. After a Bulldog serving error brought the margin to 23-22, Swanton senior outside hitter Ashlynn Waddell finished it off with a pair of kills from the left side.
In the second set, the Indians fought back from an early hole in which they trailed by as many as six points.
Down 13-8 to the Dogs, a trio of Bulldog errors, plus a pair of Sydney Zirkle shots from the left and Aaliyah Glover’s ace times two put Wauseon in front, 15-13.
The Indians continued to take minimal leads then give control back to the Dogs, until a Swanton hitting error and Zirkle’s left-side kill gave them a 22-20 lead late in the set. The two teams alternated points the rest of the way with a Swanton error ending it and knotting the match at one game apiece.
A 7-0 run would be the key to the Dogs winning game three.
Two Alexis Sarvo kills began the rally, then Jessica Dohm’s shot from the left made it a 15-12 Swanton lead, forcing Wauseon coach Kelsey Wulf to call timeout. However, the Dogs did not let up as Sarvo tipped one for a point out of the stoppage, Avril Roberts scored twice, and a Sarvo dunk extended the lead to 19-12.
Sarvo later notched two of the game’s final three points for a 25-20 Bulldog victory.
Swanton went on runs of 6-0 and 7-0 in the fourth game as the Indians were forced to play catch up. The latter of the two began when Waddell just caught the back line on a shot. Sarvo followed with a spike down the middle, two aces from Sammi Taylor, a pair of Indian errors and a Bulldog block put the Dogs up 23-9.
“We knew with it being senior night for them, that we would get their best effort and they would play with a lot of emotion as they had 5 seniors playing their last match on their home court. I think for the most part we handled their energy and enthusiasm with our own on our side of the net,” said Borer. “We played hard all night and were determined to hopefully come out on top. We definitely made mistakes, especially in the first 2 sets, but we pulled through and finished strong to end the match. This was a very good win on the road in the league.”
Swanton and Wauseon will square off in a Division III sectional semifinal hosted by Swanton next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Borer expects another stiff test from the Indians.
“It was great to get this win tonight, but obviously we will see them next week during the postseason,” he said. “We will look to continue our success from tonight, but we have to work hard in practice to get better and maintain consistent play so we have a positive outcome again. We will look at the film and evaluate that accordingly. I know they will have a week to get ready for us again and they will give us their best effort. We have to be ready to go then and it’s also nice that we will be in our own gym and hopefully have a big crowd.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010