It was evident how important the match was by the amount of energy displayed by the hometown Archbold Blue Streaks in their match with Swanton on Tuesday. In turn, they would inch closer to securing the Northwest Ohio Athletic League volleyball title outright with a 25-19, 25-18, 26-24 victory over the Bulldogs.
The Blue Streaks improved to 6-0 in the NWOAL, with a chance to finish the clean sweep of the league slate in a home match against Bryan next Tuesday. Swanton fell to 5-1 in the league.
“They truly did bring their own energy,” said Archbold coach Debbie Culler of her team’s approach to the Swanton match. “Every player stepped up to play that game. We made it our goal to push for every single point and leave it all out on the court. We have talked about what success really means and how it tastes even sweeter through hard work, and these girls found that out last night.”
“We got ourselves down early in both the first two sets by big margins and just couldn’t quite battle back from those deficits,” stated Swanton coach Kyle Borer. “We talked about starting out well and what it took, but we did not play controlled volleyball at all to begin with. The effort was there, but not our execution.”
Archbold pretty much breezed throught the first two sets.
In game one they jumped out to a 4-0 lead after Chaney Brodbeck’s kill from the right side, an Olivia Liechty dunk, a Swanton net infraction and Carsyn Hagans’ blast from the right side. Avril Roberts got the Bulldogs on the board with a kill down the middle, but a total of three Swanton errors and Hadley Galvan’s block extended Archbold’s lead at 8-1.
The Dogs did manage to pull back within three later on, 16-13, on Roberts’ middle kill, a pair of Blue Streak hitting errors, and Brooke Dockery’s shot that landed just inbounds. But that was as close as the visitors would come down the stretch.
Swanton scored the first point in game two — a Trista Eitniear left-side kill — but from that point on the Streaks led wire-to-wire.
The Dogs were able to cut the Blue Streak advantage to 12-8 following a pair of Archbold miscues. However, the Streaks responded as Liechty scored from the middle and then with a two-hand push, Brodbeck on a kill from the left and Hagans from the right for a 16-8 lead.
The Streaks kept their distance from there, maintaining at least a six-point edge the rest of the way.
“Our team did the little things for every single rally last night,” said Culler on the good things she saw from her team. “We kept our balance with the attack, we covered and played defense with an intensity that was unmatched, and our serves had them out of system most of the night. That kind of play will win a lot of games.”
Borer echoed similar sentiments of the Streaks.
“They are a hardworking defensive team and we couldn’t find the floor when we needed to,” he said. “I thought their serving controlled the whole match overall and took us out of our offense. We were inaccurate passing and then when we could get good attacks we just weren’t going to areas on the court we talked about. I thought we had a good game plan going into the match, but we didn’t necessarily follow through with it on the court.”
It appeared as though Swanton would prolong the match with a game three win, leading for much of it.
A pair of Archbold errors gave the Dogs a 23-21 lead. However, the Streaks fired back with two points of their own — Ella Bowman’s middle kill and a Bulldog error.
An Archbold error put Swanton at game point, then Brodbeck scored from the left to tie it at 24. The Streaks finished off the game and the match thanks to a Liechty block and another left-side kill from Brodbeck.
“The third set was a test for our girls and their endurance,” stated Culler. “Playing at that level and with that energy without many breaks is tiring. They played through that and made sure we took it one point at a time. These girls have heard me talk about being a finisher and closing down sets often this year, and that is exactly what they went out there to do.”
For Archbold, Galvan led the way with 15 kills and five blocks. Brodbeck added 11 kills and three aces.
Swanton bounced back Thursday night with a 25-22, 25-13, 25-23 home win over Edgerton. Katlyn Floyd paced the Bulldog offense with 16 kills on 28 of 30 hitting.
Archbold fell on the road at Fairview that same night. Scores were 25-23, 25-17, 25-14 in favor of the Apaches.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010