The Swanton volleyball team improved to 5-0 in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League, bouncing back from a first-set loss to win the next three and the match at home against Wauseon Tuesday, Sept. 29. Game scores were 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-16.
The Indians were in control for much of the first set, taking the lead for good at 5-3 following a pair of Swanton errors and Cameron Estep’s kill from the left side.
The Bulldogs did get it down to 16-15 later in the set after a Katlyn Floyd shot down the middle, but then the Indians went on a mini run. Estep scored from the right side, then a Bulldog error, and consecutive Estep aces gave the Indians a five-point cushion.
“We weren’t serve receiving very well. We let, I think Cameron Estep, go on a run with her serve. She had a nice, hard-driven serve coming at us. We let that go for three or four points in a row without getting a side out,” said Swanton coach Kyle Borer of his team’s struggles in the opening set. “We weren’t getting it up into the front row so we could get a good swing at the ball. And we were hitting stuff off the net, and weren’t being aggressive with things.”
Swanton did get within one again later, 23-22, but Wauseon finished it off on a Swanton miscue and Hayley Meyer’s right-side kill.
In the end, the second set was the likely difference maker.
The Dogs were at game point after a Wauseon serving error made it 24-21. However, the Indians would not go quietly.
Chelsie Raabe — who paced both squads in kills with 19 — scored from the left, Makayla Kebschull tacked on an ace for the Indians, and Meyer and Raabe combined for a block to knot it at 24.
“Chelsie’s been playing really well,” said Wauseon coach Kelsey Wulf. “She’s been playing strong. She, along with everybody else, has really stepped up. Honestly, this is the most aggressive we’ve played of all of our matches this year. I just told the girls in the locker room, ‘if we continue to play the way we did the first two sets, we’re gonna finish strong with the regular season.’”
Morgan Smith of Swanton and Raabe each traded kills to keep it tied, before a Wauseon hitting error and Trista Eitniear’s score through a block ended it in favor of Swanton.
“We kind of played from ahead most of that set. And, kind of got a little comfortable toward the end — (led by) four or five points — and finished it off, thankfully. We let them back there at the end and we squeezed it out,” stated Borer. “This game is so back and forth with momentum that it’s unreal. So, we needed that second set obviously to go into that third. If we would have been down 2-0 who knows what happens.”
“I thought we played great the first two sets. Honestly, I wasn’t disappointed whatsoever the way we played in the first two sets,” admitted Wulf. “We were really competitive. We didn’t let anything hit the floor. I thought we did a really great job defensively, but more importantly offensively. We were not afraid to swing and put it down, and find holes in their defense. And I liked the fact that we stayed aggressive…throughout the entire match, honestly.”
It was clear the hardfought victory in game two recharged the Bulldogs.
In game three, they extended their lead to 21-15 on a pair of right-side kills from Brooke Dockery and Sofie Taylor. Swanton then won by a six-point margin, 25-19.
The Dogs ended game four on a 6-0 run. Smith scored from the right, a pair of Emma Operacz aces followed by two straight Wauseon miscues, then Floyd’s shot through an Indian block attempt gave the Dogs a 25-16 third-set win.
Smith was 27 of 31 hitting and 15 kills to pace the Swanton offense. Floyd (35 of 41) finished with 14 kills and six digs, while Avril Roberts (18 of 21) added seven kills and seven digs.
For Wauseon Raabe, along with her 19 kills, also had 13 digs, nine assists and four blocks. Estep chipped in nine kills, 14 digs, three blocks and three aces.
The Dogs added a 25-18, 25-12, 25-22 non-league win against Evergreen on Saturday. Floyd finished with 11 kills in that contest, while Roberts and Smith added eight apiece.
Swanton next travels to Archbold (5-0 NWOAL) Tuesday for one of two remaining NWOAL contests. The winner will be in sole possession of first place in the league.
Wauseon (2-3) welcomes Liberty Center (1-4) the same night.