The Wauseon volleyball team nearly fought back down 2-0 against Van Wert in Thursday’s home sectional final in Division II. However, after Wauseon won the third set, the Cougars rallied late in game number four to close out the Indians in four sets 25-20, 25-17, 19-25 and 25-22.
“We started playing better about halfway through the second set,” commented Wauseon coach Bill Blanchong. “I told the girls look, it’s either we change the momentum and play better or our season is done. I thought the girls responded well. We definitely played better in the third and fourth sets but lost the momentum at the end of the 4th game.”
In the third set Wauseon started hot as four aces by Amy Bosell, four kills for Kallie Strauss, Lexi Sauber’s strike down the middle and three Van Wert errors gave them a 12-4 advantage. But, the Cougars responded by scoring six of the next seven points, four of them on Wauseon miscues, to pull within three.
The set would later be tied on multiple occasions, and with it knotted at 18, the Indians finally found some breathing room. First Strauss tipped one at the net and followed with a shot down the middle, then a Cougar error, and a pair of kills by Bosell put the margin at 21-18.
The only point for Van Wert the rest of the way came by way of an Indian serving error, while four hitting blunders from the Cougars gave Wauseon the third set, 25-19, to send the match to a fourth set.
The Indians jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the fourth set with the help of three Strauss aces, an ace by Bosell and two kills, Hayley Chamberlain’s block-kill, a pair of strikes down the middle by Sauber and a Van Wert ball that traveled out of bounds.
However, the hitting woes returned for Wauseon as they committed five errors, only scoring on Sauber’s kill from the left side to tie the game at 11. Also in that stretch, Van Wert’s Emma Kohn pounded one through a Wauseon block, Morgan Magowan recorded a block-kill, and Kohn an ace.
The game see-sawed back and forth after that point and after Wauseon took the lead at 21-20 with an ace by Morgan Roth, they quickly gave it back by hitting a ball out. Two more errors by Wauseon put the Cougars in front by two, then an error on the Cougars’ side made it 23-22.
The Indians drove a ball out on the next point, then a block for Strauss went out of play to end the match. It appeared as if the ball may have struck a Van Wert hitter before touching out, but after a quick discussion by the officials, it was ruled last touched by Wauseon.
“Unfortunately, we had way too many unforced errors in our hitting. That is what cost us the match,” said Blanchong.
An ace by Chamberlain in the opening set gave the Indians the lead at 19-18, however, a hit out by Wauseon and Domonique Grothause’s ace gave the lead back to the Cougars.
Wauseon’s Carys Grime responded with a shot from left to tie the set at 20, but three consecutive Indian errors followed. Ella Butler’s ace and a kill from Landrie Koontz gave the Cougars the 25-20 win and 1-0 lead in the match.
They opened up an 18-8 advantage on Wauseon in the second set and never looked back, winning the set 25-17.
Strauss was in on most of the action for Wauseon as she finished 39 of 44 hitting with 19 kills, five aces and five blocks in her last game for the Indians. Sauber added nine kills and three blocks, while Bosell had four kills to go along with her seven aces.
“Kallie (Strauss) had an exceptional night for us. She had a season high 19 kills and 5 aces,” said Blanchong on his players that made an impact. “I thought Morgan Bzovi also was outstanding as she was perfect in serve receive and had 21 digs. Amy (Bosell) had a nice serve streak in game three to help us win that set and had 7 aces with 4 kills. My two senior setters Hayley Chamberlain and Morgan Roth also gave it their all.”
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010