Archbold inched one step closer to an outright Northwest Ohio Athletic League volleyball title as they bested rival Wauseon 25-9, 25-13, 25-14 Tuesday to improve to 6-0 in the league.
“We have a very balanced attack and it’s hard to defend. And then you add in our serving game, and that’s hard to pass (against). The girls actually brought a very good offensive game,” said Archbold mentor Debbie Culler on what worked for her team against the Indians.
Not only does the victory put them a win away from the title, but it is special in its own right because of who it comes against.
“It’s always good to take care of Wauseon. We have a lot of respect for them so it’s nice to walk away with the win,” said Coach Culler.
The Blue Streaks built up a 12-3 advantage in game one and did not stop there.
They scored five straight points later in the set for a 22-6 lead. A trio of Ella Bowman aces, plus two Wauseon hitting errors made up that run.
An Archbold hitting mistake got Wauseon back on the board then the Indians’ Johanna Tester slammed one to the floor for a point. However, the Streaks put it at game point (24-8) by way of an Indian error and Chaney Brodbeck’s ace.
The Streaks committed a serving error for the last Wauseon point, but an error by the home team gave Archbold the game.
Wauseon coach Nik Encalado acknowledges how good Archbold is, but concluded that perhaps his girls helped them a bit too much.
“They’re not bad. They are definitely a competitive team. Everybody knew that going into this season,” Encalado said of the Streaks. “We’ve been struggling the last three games; we can’t get away from unforced errors. I mean, we are averaging over 12 unforced errors a set and we can’t win like that. We saw it last night (at Rossford), we missed 22 serves in a game. We can’t stop beating ourselves. I wish we would have challenged them (Archbold) a little bit more with our blocking and stuff like that. But no, they are a good team. They definitely are.”
Archbold held minimal leads throughout the early portion of game two before eventually expanding on that margin.
A Brodbeck ace doubled up the Indians at 18-9. The Streaks scored the next point as well, Jocelynne St. John-Fisher of Wauseon responded with a left-side kill, then two Wauseon errors to one from Archbold followed. Archbold then got a pair of middle kills by Bowman that put them up 23-11.
Wauseon’s Hayley Meyer and Archbold’s Keely Culler exchanged kills, then came a Blue Streak serving error, followed by Brodbeck’s kill shot to give the Streaks the 25-13 win in game two.
The Indians were able to take a 7-4 lead at one point in the third game, most of the go-ahead points coming when Tester was serving.
But the Streaks would fire back with a 9-1 rally, grabbing a 13-8 lead. Miley Gericke had a nice run of serves during that stretch.
Archbold later went up 19-11 on a combo block from Culler and Olivia Liechty. From there they struggled with a few errors of their own.
A pair of Blue Streak hitting errors and a serving mistake, with a Wauseon serve error in between, put the score at 20-14.
The Streaks closed it out after that as Culler recorded a left-side kill followed by her ace, another Indian miscue, Bowman’s middle kill and a Culler ace.
“Our serving,” Coach Culler said on the key to sustaining runs versus the Indians. “Keep them out of system. And, when we’re on serve-receive, the goal is a first-ball kill. We did that quite often.”
On the flip side, Wauseon will need to clean up its serving — and serve-receive game — to learn from this loss, says Encalado.
“Our serving, like I said we had 22 missed serves yesterday in a game,” he said as to what will be emphasized in upcoming practices. “I don’t know how many we had today, we’ve been struggling with that. And serve-receive. Earlier in the year, serve-receive’s always been our strength, we have some of the best DS’s (defensive specialists) in the league on our team.
“The last three, four games we’ve just not been able to get a good pass up to our setter and good first contact on the ball. We definitely got to work on that and improve that before we see Tinora on Thursday.”
Archbold visits Fairview Thursday before returning home on Saturday to take on Rossford and Southview in a tri-match. Wauseon stays home where they will face Tinora Thursday and Bowling Green on Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.