Wauseon held one-game advantages after both the first and third sets but it wasn’t enough to hold off a talented Bryan squad, as the Golden Bears took the final two for a 20-25, 25-17, 25-27, 25-11, 15-13 win in Northwest Ohio Athletic League volleyball Tuesday at Wauseon.
As is common in volleyball, momentum changed hands multiple times throughout the night, and in the fourth game, Bryan really showed their might. They at one point scored nine points in a row – mostly on the serve of Gwen Spengler – to seize a 24-10 lead.
Following a Wauseon hitting error, Spengler knocked home three aces around a block from teammate Jess Robb. Another Indian hitting mistake, Robb’s shot down the middle, plus two more aces from Spengler put the Bears up big. A Golden Bear error ended the run, however, Robb’s slam from the left side gave the fourth game to Bryan and tied the match at two games apiece.
“It’s difficult to play out of holes, especially against a good team like Bryan,” said Wauseon coach Kelsey Wulf. “Luckily, we were able to even the playing field in each set, except the fourth. Had we started off on a better foot, then the outcome might have been different. This has been a struggle all season for us, putting ourselves in a hole and climbing out of it. We had a difficult time stopping (MaKenna Turner) at the net, but Sydney Zirkle answered with many of her own strong kills (21). We struggled a bit with serve receive, more so than other matches this year. We also gave them a lot of their points off of 16 serving errors and 26 attack errors.”
The Bears got out to a lead in the deciding game and made it 11-7 on a MaKenna Turner shot from the left and Amaiah Valderas’ ace. This was in response to a pair of kills from Wauseon’s Sydney Zirkle.
Out of a Wauseon timeout, Zirkle scored on a shot of her own from the left side, Kloee Antigo of Bryan responded with a kill, but three straight Golden Bear errors got the Indians within 12-11, which in turn forced a Bryan timeout.
Turner blocked one out of the stoppage, then a Chelsie Raabe block for the Indians and Cameron Estep’s blast from the left knotted the score at 13-13. Bryan finished it off with back-to-back points from Robb, ending the match and pushing their league record to 4-0.
Wauseon took game one 25-20 behind five kills by Raabe and four from Zirkle. They let the Bears get back in it with a win in the second game, but registered a come-from-behind victory in game three.
Bryan led by as many as six early on but failed to slam the door on the Indians.
A trio of Golden Bear miscues allowed the Indians to trim the lead to 22-21, then after a Wauseon serving error, Zirkle notched a pair of kills which tied it. Wauseon committed an error following a Bryan timeout, however, another Zirkle shot from the left and a Bryan shot that hit the antenna put the Indians in front, 25-24.
The Bears briefly tied it again on Turner’s slam down the middle, then hit a pair of shots out of play giving the Indians a 27-25 win.
“With the exception of the fourth set, I thought we did an excellent job of battling and never ever giving up regardless of the score,” explained Wulf. “We were able to side out one point at a time to chip away at the deficit. My girls had a never-let-the-ball-hit-the-floor attitude tonight and we left everything we had on the court. When you play hard with energy, you will come out with more positives than negatives and I believe that is what brought us back in set three and even being in set 5.”
Nevertheless, Bryan would regroup and take the final two games for the road victory.
Along with her 21 kills, Zirkle also recorded seven digs for the Indians. Raabe chipped in 11 kills, Estep nine kills and five digs, and Kelcy Blanchong 34 digs.
Wauseon drops to 2-2 in league play with the loss. Now sitting at 7-7 overall on the season, the Indians travel to Bowsher Thursday and North Central Saturday for a tri-match that also features Fairview.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010