The Swanton volleyball team remained in contention for an NWOAL title with a hard fought closely contested road win over Wauseon 3-1 on Thursday night. Despite the two set margin of victory, each set was very close early on with the Bulldogs eventually coming out on top 25-21, 27-25, 17-25 and 25-18.
“My girls battled. It was a really good match,” said Wauseon coach Bill Blanchong. “Swanton is good. They bring a couple of good hitters and things just didn’t go our way. If we could have gotten that second game I think things would have been different.”
The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead in the first set but the Indians fought back with four straight points to go ahead 6-5. The game began to seesaw with the teams exchanging the lead several times until a key block by the Dogs’ Julia Smith on the Indians’ freshman standout Lexi Sauber swung the momentum to the visitors.
An 11-10 Swanton advantage shot up to 17-11 and the margin never dropped below three points, finally ending with a spike by Smith for the 25-21 win.
The second set began much like the first with the Dogs going up by three. The Indians quickly rebounded and later tied at the score at 10 apiece until Swanton’s Cydney Christensen converted four straight serves to put the Dogs back in control. When the score reached 16-11, coach Blanchong called a timeout to settle down his troops.
The break in the action had the desired effect and Wauseon rallied and pulled into a 20-20 tie. The teams reached a 25-25 score sending the contest into the volleyball version of overtime where the next team to achieve a two point lead would win. The Bulldogs did exactly that, winning the set 27-25 to take a commanding two set lead.
The third set saw a complete turnaround with the Indians taking the early three point lead, 4-1. When the score reached 5-3, Kallie Strauss ran off six consecutive service points and Wauseon was suddenly rolling with an eight point lead. The margin floated between eight and nine until a Sauber block put the spread at double digits at 23-13. A short Swanton rally only managed to close the gap a bit and the Indians easily took set three 25-17.
“They’re scrappy defensively. I give them credit. They put the pressure on us and defensively we weren’t communicating,” said Swanton coach Kyle Borer explaining the third set loss.
Wauseon was unable to maintain the same pressure in the fourth set, allowing Swanton to take a small early lead and build it from there, eventually winning 25-18 and taking the match 3-1. “They (Swanton) are very calm and cool on the court and that’s their game,” said Blanchong. “Our game is talking on the court and going after it. That’s when we play our best. In the fourth game I thought we got quiet and Swanton got a lead and they never gave it up.”
“We talked about how it wasn’t our best night overall,” remarked Borer. “But it’s a league win. I’ll take a league win anytime we can get it.”
Statistically, Amy Bosell led the Indians with eight kills, Morgan Bzovi had 10 digs, Hayley Chamberlain had 15 assists and Sauber had five blocks.
For the Bulldogs, Smith had 16 kills, Kyleigh Ramlow had 29 digs, Heather Williams had 46 assists and Christensen had four aces.
Swanton next travels to Gibsonburg tonight and comes home on Thursday to face Archbold.
Bill O’Connell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org