Swanton was able to build big leads at the beginning of the first and second sets where they rolled to a 25-13, 25-20, 25-15 win over visiting Archbold Thursday in Northwest Ohio Athletic League volleyball.
“The first set, we ran our offense very well and attacked open areas on the court and they struggled digging our quality swings,” said Swanton coach Kyle Borer. “We kept them out of system a lot. Kylie Ulch started the second set on a great run with her serve. They struggled with it (Ulch’s serves) and we used what they gave us to handle defensively very efficiently. I liked how aggressively we played to begin all three sets. We tried to attack areas that are tough to defend.”
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-0 advantage in game one thanks to an Ashlynn Waddell shot through a Blue Streak block, Jessica Dohm’s slam from the left side, two Alexis Sarvo points, three Archbold hitting errors and two kills from Katlyn Floyd.
The Blue Streaks would get to within five points on multiple occasions later in the set, however, Swanton closed them out in the end.
The Bulldogs built an even bigger lead at the beginning of the second set, going on top 11-0. They later pushed their advantage to 22-11 on Floyd’s shot from the right side, a Dohm kill, Avril Roberts with a block, Floyd’s ace, plus Waddell, who found a hole in the Blue Streak defense.
The Streaks refused to go quietly.
Hadley Galvan ended the Swanton run with a blast from the left side, the Dogs responded with a point, then three Swanton errors reduced the lead to 23-15. Galvan added an ace, plus a pair of Bulldog errors made the score 23-18, forcing coach Borer to call timeout.
Waddell scored out of the stoppage with a two-handed push to put Swanton at game point, then following a pair of kills from the Streaks’ Kayla Boettger, Swanton’s Sophie Taylor ended it to give the Dogs a two games to none lead in the match.
“In the second set, we ended our great start with a serve error and then kind of played back and forth the rest of the set. We got sloppy in serve-receive in one rotation and we didn’t get quality attacks,” explained Borer. “The energy and enthusiasm was still there, but our execution was inconsistent later on. We had some unforced hitting errors in that run as well. Volleyball is such a streaky game of momentum, so I was pleased that we withstood their run and finished off that set.”
Archbold trimmed an early Swanton lead in the third game to 9-6 following consecutive kills from Galvan and Boettger. But, the Dogs proceeded to go on a 6-0 run that put the stranglehold on Archbold.
A Blue Streak error and Dohm’s ace started the run, Waddell added a shot from the left, Trista Eitniear fired one down the middle that found paydirt, Dohm notched another ace and a Blue Streak miscue gave the Dogs a 15-6 lead. Swanton only upped that margin down the stretch, taking the deciding game 25-15.
The Dogs were good in many areas Thursday, but they were particularly impressive defensively as they dug up shot after shot. They collectively notched 47 digs, including 16 from Sammi Taylor and 15 from Ulch. Swanton had six total blocks as well.
“Our defense is much improved from last year – scrappier,” said Borer. “We still need to work on improving that area, but right now we are getting better positioning on hitters, reading their tendencies better, and making more plays on attacks than we may have in the past. When they (Archbold) got some hard-driven attacks, we had success if and when our defense transitioned to the correct positions and got the dig. Our blocking is also helping out our back row better too. Defense is definitely a team effort and our girls know they have to be committed to that part of the game for us to be successful.”
Swanton dropped its first match of the season to Maumee on Saturday in non-league competition.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010