Evergreen had to battle through a first set loss and a mid-third set deficit to rally and beat Archbold 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 to stay undefeated in the NWOAL volleyball race at 3-0 Tuesday.
“It feels great,” Viking coach Nichole Thanasiu said of the win that put her team in a tie for first in the league chase. However, early on the Vikings were playing far from that of a top level team.
Actually both teams couldn’t find the range offensively in the first set as 10 of the first 11 points were scored by way of some sort of error.
Blair Bucklew finally broke the drought with an ace that gave Archbold a 7-5 lead.
Kaitlyn Beck broke an 8-8 tie with consecutive kills from the right side, and added one more kill along with another by Kayla Boettger to give the Streaks a 13-8 lead.
McKenna Babcock’s back-to-back kills got Evergreen back to 21-18 but a serve into the net and another shot from the right by Beck helped finish an Archbold win in set one.
Kori Kreuz’ work in the middle and a right-side kill from Savannah VanOstrand helped give Evergreen a 4-0 lead but Hadley Galvan scored from the left and Bucklew stuck one from the back row to get Archbold within 6-5.
Nicole Brand’s dunk of an overpass and Kelsie Komisarek’s shot from the left along with three straight Archbold hitting errors gave Evergreen a 13-8 lead.
Four straight points, including two kills by Olivia Smith, got the Streaks back to 13-12 but Evergreen erupted for an 8-0 run to take control of the set.
Kreuz’ tip from the middle started the burst, then Babcock’s screamer from the left, VanOstrand’s drop from the middle, along with a bevy of Archbold mistakes put the Vikes up nine.
Galvan’s three kills rallied the Streaks back to 24-20 before Komisarek ended the set with a left-side kill.
Alexa Wilson’s pair of aces broke a 7-7 tie and ignited a 9-3 run that gave Archbold a 16-10 third set lead.
However, the Viking blockers became more of a presence and behind Kreuz and Brand, Evergreen began to get back in the pivotal third set. Kreuz’ block and two shots from Babcock brought Evergreen back to 18-15 but Galvan went twice from the left side herself to boost the Streak lead back to five.
Then it was Brand blocking two Streak attacks for solo blocks and Komisarek’s push shaving the Archbold lead to 21-20.
“We are a blocking team,” Thanasiu said. “When one of us gets one then it seems as if everyone gets involved one after another.”
Beck ended an extended rally from both teams, scoring from the middle to double the Streak advantage.
Kreuz’ tip and a Streak attack that went out and Claire Conrad’s knuckleball serve that went for an ace put the Vikes up 23-22 before an Evergreen attack went awry to knot the set.
Kreuz scored off a block attempt from the middle and then Komisarek again came up big with an ace to end the set and put the Vikes up 2-1.
“Kelsie stepped up big tonight,” said Thanasiu. “We had a lineup change after the first set loss where she played all the way around and she stepped up just so big today.”
Galvan and Smith scored three times to get Archbold up 8-6 in the fourth set before the Vikings again came up with a critical 8-0 spurt.
Again it was VanOstrand with a two-hand push and a swing from the right side, followed by Kreuz with a dunk of an overpass and yet another solo block, another ace by Conrad and finally Komisarek with a shot down the left side to give Evergreen control, 14-8.
Some Viking miscues helped Archbold come back to 16-13 but Brand doubled up with VanOstrand with a block, then scored two more of her own to make it 19-13.
“We had called timeout,” explained Thanasiu. “And during that timeout we made an adjustment to our blocks. Nicole is one of our leading middle blockers but she was too early on her block and they were abusing her before that.
“She made that adjustment and delayed a little bit and it turned the whole match around.”
However, the Streaks weren’t quite done yet as Galvan nailed three from the left and Beck got two more at the net to slice the Viking lead to 20-18.
Komisarek rattled a shot off a Streak block and Kreuz again scored from the middle to put the Vikes up four, but Elee Kammeyer countered to keep the Streaks in contact at 22-19.
Evergreen libero Cece Silvestri dug up three Archbold kill attempts in the next rally that ended with a left-side kill from Komisarek and when VanOstrand scored from the right, Evergreen was at match point.
“We talked in pre-game that she needed to step up big tonight,” Thanasiu said of her mighty mite libero. “She was all over the court. In that last rotation we’re talking about that is our serve receive that we get stuck in and we work on that every day and she really saved us there.”
Boettger’s crossing push and an Evergreen shot that went out kept Archbold in the match before a double call on the ensuing Streak set ended the match.
Evergreen now hosts Edgerton Thursday and Otsego Saturday before traveling to Liberty Center for their next NWOAL match next Tuesday. Archbold’s next league match is that same night when they head to Delta.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org