At times the Swanton Bulldogs were dominate in their opening volleyball match against Gibsonburg Thursday at home.
And at times they were downright ugly.
The good overrode the bad just enough as Kyle Borer’s Dogs topped the Golden Bears 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 23-25, 15-9 to exact a little revenge on a team that had Swanton’s number the last couple years.
“Inconsistency,” Borer said in a very descriptive word regarding his team’s performance. “We’ve been working on that all summer long, whether it’s been defensively, setting, hitting. We knew what we had to replace from last year and in spots right now, we’re just not consistent.”
Those problems arose right away in the first set as the Bulldogs were aced in back-to-back fashion by Libby Henderson, then bad passes, miscommunication errors, and hits that went awry helped the Bears to a 12-7 lead.
Then just as quickly, the Bulldogs were dominating as Julia Smith scored on a tip after a scramble, Sidney Taylor and Cydney Christensen each had a pair of kills that included combining on a double block to help Swanton knot up the score at 14-14.
Taylor’s ace and a slam by Christensen gave the Bulldogs a lead they never gave back at 16-14.
Katelyn Kolkemeyer’s crossing shot forged a tie for the Bears at 18 but a service error, Taylor’s shot from the left side and a Bear attack that went out put Swanton in control for a first set win.
Six second set kills by Christensen and four more from Taylor to go with another ace led to a 25-19 win but just that quick the inconsistency Borer spoke of reared it’s head in the third set.
Gibsonburg scored four aces, two by Chloe Morelock and Swanton gave the Bears a resounding 12 points on a variety of errors that led to a Bear third set triumph.
A pair of Kolkemeyer aces along with two more from Morelock in the fourth set helped Gibsonburg to an early lead, but Smith brought the Bulldogs back with five kills, including a thunderous slam off a slide then a kill from the right side that gave Swanton a 21-20 lead.
A foot fault on a serve brought the Bears even at 21 before Taylor and Morelock alternated scores to keep the score tied at 22.
A Gibsonburg net violation put the Dogs ahead by one but a bad pass gave it right back and Morelock’s ace and a push into the corner by Kolkemeyer tied the match at two sets each.
“If we don’t pass and set well, we don’t get our hits and don’t score. I mean that’s pretty simple,” said Borer. “Tonight we saw streaks where we did that well and we saw streaks where we didn’t at all. We have just got to put it together and stop being so up and down.”
However Swanton again recovered, jumping on the Bears in the fifth and deciding set as Christensen scored on a change up hit, Riley Gardner aced the Bears, Christensen nailed a quick set slam and Abby Arnold solo blocked a Bear attack to give Swanton a 5-1 lead.
Deanna Herr’s score, a pair from Smith and Cassie Kosier’s ace boosted the Dogs to the fifth set victory.
“I think we’ll get there eventually,” explained Borer. “We’re going to improve and keep getting better.”
The Dogs then were at Maumee on Saturday where they picked up another five-set victory 20-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 15-11.
Swanton hosts Wauseon in an NWOAL season opening match on Tuesday.
Joe Blystone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org