Vikings fly over Pilots in four

Evergreen used diversity of offense and for the most part a solid defense in beating Ayersville, 25-20, 25-22, 12-25 and 25-22 to go to 3-0 on the young volleyball season Monday at home.

“There has been no one person that has stood out in terms of kills or assists,” said veteran Viking coach Kelsey Wulf. “It’s truly a team effort this year, everyone is picking up when we need it.”

Evergreen ran out to a fast 6-0 first-set lead on a trio of Jamie VanLoocke kills, a couple of Hannah Herr aces, and a score from freshman McKenna Babcock.

Ayersville rallied to get within a point at 17-16 on Aubrey Florence’s shot off a blocker before Bailie Sutter’s change up drop shot, Kori Kreuz’ solo block and Kelsie Komisarek’s three points off two shots off Pilot blockers and a left-handed tip gave Evergreen a solid lead. Sierra Tack’s blast through a block capped off the set for the Vikings.

Ayersville jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead in the second game on a couple of Viking mistakes and Ally Samlow’s shot from the left, but Babcock rallied the Vikes with an ace and right side kill to tie the set before Sutter’s point put Evergreen up 6-5.

Samlow and Amanda Addington scored to put Ayersville back ahead 9-7, but Cece Silvestri’s back row shot found hardwood to knot everything up at 10. Five more tie scores later, the Vikes finally took the lead for good on two Pilot hitting errors and Kreuz’ dunk off an overpass.

Again Ayersville rallied to trail just 23-22 on two kills by Samlow and two Viking hitting miscues, before VanLoocke got one from the left side and Sutter ended the set with a punch from the right.

“Everyone has been chipping in,” stated Wulf. “A kill here and there, we do a good job of spreading our offense around and not going to the same person all the time.”

The Pilots rebounded in the third set as Samlow, along with Logan Tijerina, found dead spots in the Viking defense to take a commanding 18-9 lead.

In all the Pilot duo combined to get nine kills in the set.

Ayersville got three more kills from Florence, including the game winner.

“For the most part our defense was good except in the third set,” explained Wulf. “I thought our feet were kind of slow and we were picking up things that were right in front of us. Outside of that third set I thought we were pretty good.”

The Pilots again took a short 6-4 lead in the fourth set, mostly due to Viking serving errors and a couple violations.

However, the Pilots returned the favor with five miscues of their own around Kreuz’ resounding slam from the middle to take a 10-7 lead.

Ayersville rebounded behind Ashley Tressler’s back-to-back kills, another from Addington, and an ace from Alexis Hagerman to reclaim a 13-11 lead.

VanLoocke’s tip, a Pilot hit that went out, and VanLoocke’s two-hand push from left to right along the net gave Evergreen back the lead at 14-13.

The Pilots knotted the score at 16 when a Viking attack went out, and VanLoocke gave the Vikes the lead with a tip into the middle of the Pilot defense and a serving ace.

One last time Ayersville tied the set on a Tressler left-side shot.

This time it was Babcock who gave the Vikes the lead for good when she answered from the left side.

Lexie Truckor’s ace and alternating hits into the net set the stage for Babcock’s match winner, a change up fake swing tip that brought back memories of a Viking past.

“She did look like Eden Eisel on the last play,” Wulf said. “It was a very ‘Edenesque’ move.”

“McKenna’s a very consistent player. She’s only a freshman and she still has a lot to learn and she works hard on things to get better. She’s not a timid player so we really like that too.”

Evergreen then fell 25-19, 25-23, 19-25, 25-23 at Bryan in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League opener Tuesday.

The Vikings host powerful Tinora Thursday at Evergreen with a JV start at 6 p.m.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor