DELTA – The Delta volleyball team was able to outlast a stingy Pettisville squad in four sets on Monday, 25-21, 28-30, 25-23 and 25-19. Despite dropping the second game in which they held a 7-0 advantage early, the Panthers refused to let that defeat linger as they rebounded for wins in games three and four.
“We lost the second set after starting off with another huge lead,” said Delta coach Kelly Finnen. “That was difficult to understand, but, as a team we have discussed all year our actions and our expectations have to match (each other), and being able to overcome obstacles is the key to winning.”
“I was proud of our fight and determination tonight,” said Pettisville coach John Horning of his team’s performance. “We never quit and fought tough to the end of each set.”
The first set was a back-and-forth affair in which the Panthers scored seven of the last 10 points to claim victory.
Tied at 18, Delta’s Madison Zimmerman got a kill followed by a Pettisville hitting error which put them up two. The two squads alternated the next four points which made it 22-20 in favor of Delta.
A Blackbird hitting error and Destiny Hildreth’s ace for Delta put the Panthers on the brink, while a Panther hitting miscue brought it back to 24-21. A Pettisville hitting error ended the set.
The second set saw Delta jump out to a 7-0 lead behind the serving of McKinsey Finnen. She notched four aces in those first seven points and had 10 for the match.
“We dug ourselves holes at the beginning of each set and we need to get better in that area,” said Horning.
However, Pettisville continued to chip away at the Panther lead, even when they were down to their last point at 24-21.
First a shot by Amber Klopfenstein caught the back line, then a Delta shot went out followed by Kate Kauffman’s block kill to knot the set at 24.
Stephanie Hubby then fired an ace to put Pettisville ahead. McKinsey Finnen responded with a shot down the right side which tied it at 25. This continued until the score was 28-27 in favor of Delta.
However, Claire Foor’s strike down the middle and a pair of Panther hitting errors allowed the Blackbirds to take the second set, 30-28, tying the match at one game apiece.
The third game was also an up and down one. A substitution penalty called on Delta awarded a point to Pettisville which tied the match at 22 late in the set.
McKinsey Finnen’s kill from left and a Delta hitting error kept the score tied, however, back-to-back kills for Jessi Davis awarded the Panthers the third set and gave them a 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth.
“Jessi Davis was strong at the net with 5.5 blocks and 12 kills,” stated coach Kelly Finnen. “She has been fighting some ailments the past few weeks. It was nice to see Jessi getting back into her game.”
The deciding set started with a bang for the Panthers as they scored the first 11 points on more stellar serving from McKinsey Finnen. The sophomore pegged four more aces in that stretch.
“I definitely thought Kinsey’s strong serving was a factor all night and in game three and game four for sure,” stated coach Kelly Finnen. “She started each set with a huge lead for our team.”
And while the Blackbirds did score six of the next seven points with the help of Youse’s offense, Delta eventually managed to pull away for a 25-19 win that gave them the match.
Also contributing for the Panthers were Zimmerman who had 17 digs and Jenni Davis who like her sister, Jessi, also posted 12 kills.
Youse led the way for Pettisville as she was 5 for 12 hitting with 10 kills. Teagan Kauffman added seven kills, while Klopfenstein was a perfect 10 for 10 hitting with five kills.
Delta (7-2) then added a 21-25, 26-24, 25-16 and 25-21 four-set victory at Archbold on Tuesday.
The Panthers host Montpelier tomorrow while Pettisville travels to Fayette.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010