Trying to get back on the right track in the midst of a three-game losing streak, Wauseon did exactly that at home versus Pettisville Thursday, besting the Blackbirds 25-20, 25-20, 25-16 in non-league volleyball.
“Honestly, we really wanted to get ourselves out of the funk from losing to PH and Tinora. Kind of been in a little bit of a funk,” said Wauseon coach Kelsey Wulf. “Honestly my focus was just pulling ourselves out of that tonight. It didn’t matter who we were playing.”
The Indians took hold of the momentum in the first set as a Blackbird serving error, Drue Roush’s block, a Sydney Zirkle ace, and Delanie Roush’s shot from the right side put them up 19-15 and forced a Pettisville timeout.
That lead quickly evaporated thanks to five Wauseon errors around a Pettisville serving mistake. However, the Indians ended it with back-to-back kills from Cameron Estep, a pair of Blackbird errors, and Kelcy Blanchong’s ace for the first of two 25-20 wins.
The Indians did a repeat in game two. When their errors allowed the Birds to tie the score at 20, they responded with five straight points for the win.
Estep had a pair of kills around a Blackbird error, then Drue Roush’s ace and a Delanie Roush tip at the net ended it.
“She was kind of in a funk, just like the rest of us the last week or so. She really stepped up her game,” said Wulf of Estep. “We had some nice discussions – team discussions. I think everybody is kind of on the same page now. We weren’t before.
“She (Estep) did a good job of changing up her shots, hitting some offspeed stuff. As a sophomore, she’s still figuring that out. Knowing that you don’t have to always hit 100 miles an hour. That you can tip, you can hit some offspeed stuff. So she did a good job.”
“I think they (Wauseon) played more consistent at the end probably,” said Pettisville mentor John Horning on dropping the first two games. “We talked about (how) we just didn’t string enough good points or keep our service back there long enough to kind of push them into a panic situation. The first two sets I thought were solid losses if you want to call it that.”
In the third game the Indians scored 8 of the final 10 points on three kills from Zirkle plus five Pettisville errors, sealing the win.
The close wins in the first two games could have played a factor in the third, however, Wulf didn’t feel like momentum played much of a factor. The Indians simply executed better down the stretch.
“Even the gym today was kind of lacking intensity,” said the Wauseon coach. “Momentum is definitely huge in volleyball. But again, I wish I had a little more help from the crowd. And a little more help from my team. We’ve played five games in the last seven days. I think we’re all tired, we’re pooped. Our feet weren’t moving very fast.”
For Pettisville, who has now lost two in a row, Horning wants to see improvement defensively.
“We were talking (after the game) about foot speed and eye reads. As far as, getting a feel for what you’re opponent’s going to do before they do it. Then getting in position before they do it, versus getting in position as they do it. Because then you’re done if you’re not in the perfect spot,” he said.
Wauseon (2-4) is at Liberty Center this Thursday and at Napoleon for a tri-match with the Wildcats and Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday.
Pettisville (3-2) is at North Central this Thursday and Miller City Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010