After taking the first two sets, Pettisville’s mistakes allowed Delta to get back in the match, but in the end the Blackbirds cleaned up enough to win the non-league match at home Monday, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 17-25, 15-9.
“Midway through the third set it felt like we were a little off,” Pettisville coach John Horning said about the match. “It played over into set four, which is on us.”
It took a few points for the Blackbirds to jump on top in the fifth set. Leading by a slim 6-5 margin, Pettisville used three quick points to solidify the lead. Morgan Leppelmeier – who had a big game for the Blackbirds – sandwiched a tip around two Delta errors for a 9-5 score.
Pettisville gave back two points on miscues, but again Leppelmeier came through. She hammered back-to-back kills for a 12-8 advantage, where at that point Delta called its second timeout of the set.
Leppelmeier added a final kill to give the Blackbirds the 15-9 win.
“Percentages were against us a little bit,” Horning said of battling for the win. “We talked before the set that it’s only to 15 and we needed a good start. I felt like we came out with good energy and focused, played faster and made better decisions.”
Pettisville was able to pull out a couple close wins in the first two sets. Tied at 22 in the opener, Danielle King came through with a big tip to put the Blackbirds in front. Brooklyn Wymer matched the point for the Panthers, however, Ryeana Klopfenstein picked up the first of the final two points to help the Blackbirds to the win in the first set.
“There were some holes we knew they’d have in their defense,” stated Horning. “We talked about those and Dani hit that hole. It was a little spark plug.”
The Blackbirds had a slightly easier time in the second set. Delta had a chance, with Wymer hitting the corner on a kill to cut the Pettisville lead to 18-16 with the serve. The ensuing serve went into the net and Pettisville took over.
From there, Leppelmeier tallied three kills and a tip as the Blackbirds took the set 25-19.
“She was a beast and I enjoy watching her hit,” Delta coach Dennis Walton said of facing the Pettisville senior. “Their setter did a good job of getting her the ball.”
Delta was able to close out close wins in the next two sets. Wymer and Brooklyn Green combined for solid play at the net, with Green getting three big points late, to help the Panthers to a 25-23 win in the third set.
“That was great,” coach Walton said of winning to get back into the match. “We had some of our best players having bad games so I had to work on different rotations.”
The combination of Green and Wymer also played well in the fourth set. They combined for a block – after Pettisville put three balls in the net – to lift Delta to a 25-17 win in the fourth set.
“We went back to our regular line-up,” admitted Walton. “That was working well.”
Leppelmeier ended the game with 25 kills, 15 digs and an ace for the Blackbirds. King added eight kills, 21 digs and an ace. Megan King had 15 digs and also served an ace. Klopfenstein added 10 kills, 15 digs and two aces. Mauricea Crouch had 32 assists.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org