Swanton volleyball fell at home to Wauseon Tuesday 25-14, 25-20, 16-25, 25-13.
With the win, the Indians clinched a share of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title, their first in 25 years. Wauseon and Evergreen are co-league champions.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Wauseon coach Bill Blanchong after the match. “They (Swanton) are a well-coached team. I was expecting a fight coming in here for sure. We got those first two, I was hoping to get it in three, but we just got kind of out of system a little bit. That was to Swanton’s credit. But, we made a couple of adjustments in that fourth game. Just got back on being aggressive. Making less unforced errors, which is what we needed to do.”
Whoever scored first ended up winning each game, and luckily for Wauseon, they did so three times.
In the first set, the Bulldogs could not overcome 14 errors and the play of Wauseon’s hitters.
“I knew coming in it was gonna be a tall task because we were down one of our leaders tonight. We were missing Abby (Arnold),” said Swanton mentor Kyle Borer. “Kind of a makeshift lineup on the spot. The first set, we start off, and we’re not blocking, we’re out of position defensively, and (Lexi) Sauber goes off for five kills before she rotates to the back row. And with that, we’re making errors ourselves. Just miscommunications and hitting the ball out of bounds and stuff like that. A lot of unforced errors.”
The next set the Indians built comfortable leads multiple times, including a 22-14 advantage after a pair of kills from Chelsie Raabe. But, the Dogs would fight back one last time.
A Wauseon hitting error, Jessica Dohm’s ace, plus Ashlynn Waddell’s kill and another Indian miscue brought them within 22-18. It also forced a timeout from Blanchong.
However, a pair of kills from Wauseon’s Sydney Zirkle and another by Maddie Trejo helped them pull away to a 25-20 win.
Swanton would turn that momentum over to the third game where they issued a dominating performance.
“Control our own side of the net,” said Borer on the message to his team prior to game three. “They are gonna get their kills here and there, but if we can control our side, our unforced errors and all that stuff, we should be fine. But, I did change the lineup up a little bit. Just switched a couple people. You can say that made a difference, but it was the same lineup as the fourth set.”
They took over midway through the set starting with a pair of Wauseon errors. Ellie Beroske then tacked on a pair of right-side kills to extend the Bulldog lead to 15-7.
The Indians got no closer than six points from that point on, as Swanton went on to win 25-16.
Wauseon recaptured their magic in game four, breaking away early on a 5-0 run. A Bulldog serving error started it, Sauber followed with back-to-back kills, Tamera Smith fired a shot from the middle and Sauber capped it off to make it 7-2.
The Indians pushed their lead to double digits by the end of the set, winning by 12 to capture the league crown.
Swanton hosts Northwood tonight.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010