Archbold volleyball coach Debbie Culler’s first NWOAL match was a trip into the “Big House” at Evergreen, where many an opponent in the last two decades has crumbled under a hoard of high-flying Viking air attacks from left, right and middle.
This time it was Culler’s Blue Streaks flying in from all directions and from a myriad of sources to take a 25-21, 25-21, 25-17 sweep to give Culler her first NWOAL win Tuesday night.
“The key with these girls is flipping the switch,” explained a happy Culler after. “We are going to be in attack mode and our best defense is our offense.
“We came in and we knew we had to close it down tonight and I’m super proud of all the girls.”
Down 3-2, Archbold went on a 9-0 run keyed by Addi Ziegler’s stuff at the net and a pair of Hadley Galven kills — including one of the block variety.
That first set lead extended to 18-7 on a couple of aces from Ziegler and two bullets from Chaney Brodbeck from the left side.
Evergreen crept back in when Ellie Johnson aced the Streaks twice to bring the Vikes within 20-14.
Maddie Smith’s block brought the Vikings closer at 23-19, then Morgan Foster’s ace and Smith’s change-up shot that found wood made it 24-21.
Again the Streaks went to Brodbeck and the sophomore delivered with a shot off a blocker from the left to end the set.
“We rep balance and we want to achieve a balanced attack,” expressed Culler. “Our setter knows that and we want to get points from a number of people.”
The second set began much like the first as Archbold jumped out to a 12-5 margin when Carsyn Hagans’ serve rolled over the net for an ace and Ella Bowman stuffed the middle.
Smith’s first-ball dunk got Evergreen back to 13-8 but consecutive shots off the grid regained a seven-point Blue Streak lead.
Lydia Valentine’s back-to-back aces brought the Vikings back again to 15-12 but Ziegler returned the favor with an ace, Galvan hit from the left side and Olivia Liechty rejected an attack for a block that pushed the Streaks up 21-15.
One more time the Vikings retaliated as McKenna Babcock, Nicole Johnson and then Smith with a slam back of her own got Evergreen again to 24-21.
And again, Archbold had a final answer as Galvan put away a shot off a block attempt to give the Streaks a 2-0 lead.
The last set went back and forth.
Foster’s two-hand push gave Evergreen a 7-5 lead.
Bowman’s trio of aces rebounded the Streaks back on top at 10-8.
Nicole Johnson’s bullet from the left side tied the set at 13-13.
Brodbeck’s laser put the Streaks back on top and Hagans’ ace extended the lead to 16-13.
Two straight shots off the court got the Vikings back to 16-15.
Marissa VanDenk’s head long diving save of Galvan’s serve went over the net where Brodbeck was waiting in the air and the sophomore delivered a wood-splitting slam that energized the Streaks and ignited a 6-0 burst.
Kiera Gensler, Brodbeck from the left side, Galvan’s ace and another Brodbeck kill made it 22-15 and it was only fitting that it was Brodbeck nailing the game-winner from the left.
“She is a finisher,” Culler said of her sophomore hitter. “She’s what every coach wants. When you know who you can go to to finish and that’s what we do with her.
“We have a big sophomore group and I can’t say enough good things about them,” Culler said of her team that played ahead of their years. “We can’t discount our juniors and seniors, this team plays together as a group and that’s what makes me super proud.”
The Blue Streaks next NWOAL contest is at Wauseon Thursday, Sept. 10.
Evergreen hosts Patrick Henry the same night.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org