Last volleyball season Kyle Borer’s Swanton Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in their match against Archbold, only to have the Blue Streaks come back to take the next three sets to win the match.
The Bulldogs returned the favor Thursday night, coming back from the same 2-0 deficit to win, 23-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-15 and 15-11 to stay a game behind Evergreen in the NWOAL volleyball title hunt.
“That’s exactly what I told them after game two,” said Borer regarding last season’s Archbold comeback. “Let’s turn it around from last year and get the momentum on our side and see what happens. This game is crazy with streaks so you never know.”
Swanton went from a 13-11 deficit in the first set to a 20-16 lead behind four kills from Sidney Taylor, Kyleigh Ramlow’s score from the back row, Cydney Christensen’s cross court shot and Julia Smith’s push deep.
But just that quick Archbold came back and caught the Bulldogs on Delanie Driver’s block of a tip, Macey Rupp’s ace, an Allie McQuade score from the middle and Peyton Dickman’s ace to knot the set at 21.
Swanton regained an advantage at 23-21 on Christensen’s sideline tip but Archbold scored the next four, the last point on a bad Bulldog set to take the game.
Swanton again led in set two at 16-14 before Archbold went on an 11-2 run ignited by Andi Peterson’s drive through a block.
Alyssa Ziegler’s second ball dunk, a double block kill by Rupp and Peterson, and three more kills by Rupp finished off the second set and gave Archbold a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.
However, Swanton roared out of the gate in the third set, taking a 6-1 lead behind a pair of kills from Taylor and Smith’s slam from the left side.
Archbold caught the Bulldogs at 14 when Dickman and Rupp had three straight kills.
But after being held in check the first two sets, Bulldog senior Claire Leidigh asserted herself.
The 5’9” middle scored from the middle, then again on a redirect around a Blue Streak defender.
Then with the score 21-18 in favor of Swanton, Leidigh hammered a shot through the middle of the defense, then after Karah Kohlman’s ace, she ripped a bullet through a block attempt before Christensen’s right side kill ended the set.
“We changed our offense a little in the third set and got some things going in the middle of the game,” explained Borer. “we just kept going with it because they never really adjusted.”
That statement proved prophetic for the rest of the match as in the fourth set Swanton recorded 12 kills while the Blue Streaks gave them 11 more points on errors or attacks that went awry.
Smith started the fifth and deciding set with a bullet into the middle and Taylor followed with a crosscourt deep push before Smith drove one through a block with emphasis to give Swanton an early 4-1 lead.
“Julia played very well tonight,” said Borer. “Her hitting percentage was high and her kill percentage was high as well.”
Two pounding kills by Christensen, a shot by Leidigh that painted the back line and another Archbold miscue gave the Bulldogs a 9-4 lead.
However, maybe the Bulldogs got a bit too excited as they committed a couple of net violations, put two serves into the net and when Peterson scored on a change up hit, suddenly the last set was locked in a 10-10 tie.
However, a Blue Streak attack was long and Taylor took over.
The sophomore outside hitter scored going cross court, then after Peterson’s hit rolled over the net and to the floor to slice the score to 12-11, Taylor bounced one off a blocker and after Heather Williams’ ace, she ended the match with a shot down the sideline.
“She’s one heck of a player, ” Borer said of Taylor. “She plays all around, she plays defense, she can hit. She was a setter on JV last year so she’s still learning the position but she’s doing a heck of a job.”
“We fought through some of our own errors in that set, so thankfully we squeaked it out.”
While Swanton held serve with one league loss, Archbold dropped their second of the year in the NWOAL.
“After losing in five with Evergreen (at home) to start the league it’s tough to recover,” stated Borer. “We just have to keep fighting and playing through and hopefully something comes out in our favor. It’s time to tighten up already and we’re only in the third league match, but it’s a long season.”
Swanton hosts Patrick Henry on Tuesday, while Archbold hosts Evergreen.
Joe Blystone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org