Wauseon let a first-set lead slip away, and their bad luck carried over to the other three Saturday at home versus St. Marys Memorial in a Division III volleyball sectional final. The Indians took the second set 25-17, but it wasn’t enough as they fell to the Roughriders 27-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22.
“That first game was key. We had a lead that we let get away from us,” said head coach Bill Blanchong. “The second game we got the lead again and we held the lead. Games three and four it was just really pretty even. There were a couple times where we had the lead and then they would push back, then we would push back. But, there was a couple of times where we didn’t side out right away.”
The two squads were neck-and-neck at the beginning of set one when a Roughrider error made it 6-5 in favor of Wauseon. Two more Roughrider miscues, then consecutive aces from Wauseon’s Chloe Lane extended their lead to five.
The Indians carried that lead late into the set and a Lexi Sauber shot from the left side put the score at 23-20. Carly Caywood’s kill for St. Marys wedged in between errors by both teams gave the Indians a game point opportunity.
However, a serving error and hitting error by the Indians knotted the score at 24. The Roughriders’ Makenna Mele and Sauber then traded kills, but two more Wauseon mistakes gave the first set to St. Marys.
In the second game, the Indians scored 8 of the last 10 points to seal the deal.
Wauseon’s Reagan Spadafore got a kill from the left side, Jen Sanders fired one down the middle, Spadafore scored again but was answered by Mele, and a Roughrider miscue put the Indians up 21-16. Lane followed with an ace, a St. Marys error, and Sanders’ kill made it 24-16.
Aaleyiah Williams got the Roughriders a little closer with a strike from the middle, but Karli Penrod finished it off for the Indians from the left side.
St. Marys used the play of seniors Danielle Bertke and Mele to get the victory in the third set. Bertke had five kills and Mele six in the three-point win.
St. Marys’ Cherissa Priddy was also vital to their success according to Blanchong.
“Their libero is super quick. She took away Maddie’s dump,” he said, referring to Wauseon Setter Maddie Trejo. “And that was a real good offensive weapon for us all season. And their number two hitter was really good. But we knew that. We had scouted them very well. We were very prepared for the match.
“Unfortunately, we fell short by just a couple points again.”
Sauber’s kill pulled the Indians within one at 22-21, but Bertke and Mele went back-to-back from the left side to put it at game point. Following a Roughrider error, a Wauseon shot traveled too far to end it.
In a highly competitive fourth set, the Indians grabbed the lead late when after a hitting error of their own, Spadafore drilled one from the left to make it 22-21. But, they could not hold it.
Mele’s kill and consecutive Indian errors put the Roughriders on the brink where another Mele shot ended it.
Despite the abrupt end to the season, Wauseon can cherish the memories that 2017 brought.
“This by far was my favorite season at Wauseon in terms of the girls,” concluded Blanchong. “We had the best league record since ‘93 – a lot of people don’t realize that. We won the league in ‘93, but we only had the one loss (this season), and that was to Swanton the first league match.”
Wauseon finishes the season with a 17-7 record.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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