While it wasn’t the way coach Bill Blanchong drew it up, he was still pleased that his team came back to win as the Wauseon volleyball team rallied Saturday afternoon to claim a five-set win over visiting Maumee.
Down two sets to one, the Indians battled back and played well over the final two sets to win 27-25, 23-25, 9-25, 25-15, 15-7.
“It was a great win for us,” a relieved coach Blanchong said after battling back. “It was a really good opening match. I love the competition. Maumee is a Division II school like we are. It was really good competition out of the gate.”
The Indians were never really challenged in the fifth set, when Sydney Zirkle and Lexi Sauber opened with points. Two Maumee plays out of bounds and a block from Sauber after a Maumee timeout led to a 5-0 start for Wauseon.
Sauber added two tips at the net and a kill on a set-up from Maddie Trejo to build a 10-3 lead. Maumee held off a match point twice, but at 14-7 Zirkle was able to get the final kill for the Wauseon win.
The Indians needed a win in the fourth set just to stay alive. Up 9-8, Sauber had a kill and an ace in a 6-0 run to push Wauseon to a 15-8 advantage. Zirkle added a kill in a four-point run, then Trejo finished with a tip over the net for the 25-15 win.
“We fought back and that shows a lot of character out of the girls,” the Wauseon coach said of coming back in the fourth set.
Trejo made a game-saving play that allowed the Indians to take the first set. With Wauseon holding a 26-25 lead and looking for the win, she went out of play to bring a ball back with her back to the court and hit Sauber with a pass that she finished with the winning tip.
“Every ball matters, that’s what I tell the girls,” said Blanchong of saving the point to win the opening set. “We cannot allow any ball to hit the floor. We had a couple really nice plays just to keep the ball alive.”
In the second set, Wauseon made a run when Delanie Roush and Chelsie Raabe scored, but Maumee took advantage of Indian mistakes to claim a 25-23 decision. The Panthers kept rolling and took the third set 25-9.
“We just didn’t run our offense,” explained Blanching about struggling in the third set. “We weren’t passing as well. We were basically reacting to everything they were doing.”
Wauseon returns to action Thursday when they host Hicksville.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org