The Pettisville volleyball team used some surges late in their sets to rally for a five-set victory over Wauseon on the road Monday night 20-25, 27-25, 20-25, 25-22 and 15-12.
“I am proud of my teams’ effort and never quit attitude all match. We hope to build off this win as we look forward to league play,” said Pettisville mentor John Horning on his team’s thrilling win.
“There were a couple of chances that we had, but Pettisville hung in there,” noted Wauseon coach Bill Blanchong, who before the match was recognized for recording his 100th victory as a volleyball coach last season against Paulding.
“It was a really good match, that is what I just told my girls. It is a shame that somebody had to lose it.”
The big momentum turn for the Blackbirds took place late in the fourth set as they made Wauseon’s narrow lead disappear. Ahead for much of the early portion of that game, Pettisville responded as Morgan Leppelmeier got a kill from the left side, then a Wauseon hit which landed out of play, and a Leppelmeier service ace knotted the fourth set at 13.
The Indians were able to reclaim a 16-14 advantage with the help of points by Morgan Roth and Amy Bosell, but back-to-back kills by Pettisville’s Claire Foor tied the match at 16. Foor added another to give the Birds the advantage and an Indian hitting error further increased their lead, forcing a timeout to be called by Blanchong.
After the pause a Wauseon error, a kill for Pettisville’s Teagan Kauffman, ace by Carly Bontrager and another Indian miscue made it 22-16 before the Indians finally ended the Blackbird rally. It came on a Pettisville hitting blunder.
“We try to always side out and not allow one server to beat us,” said Blanchong of Pettisville’s run in the fourth set. “And I think in the fourth game their one girl ended up and got I don’t know how many points in a row. Usually you can’t win if you give up seven or eight points in a row to one server. That usually means that it’s not going to turn in your favor.”
The two squads traded points and then a Blackbird miscue and tip by Wauseon’s Carys Grime cut the Pettisville lead at 23-20. A total of three errant hits, two for Pettisville and one for Wauseon, made it 24-22 before Jess Youse tipped a shot at the net that couldn’t be returned and Pettisville took the fourth game to even the match at two games apiece.
Wauseon was able to hold minimal leads of two and three points in the deciding game, however, Pettisville battled back to knot the score at eight. Consecutive kills for Youse and a block by the Indians that landed out of play helped the Birds gain an 11-8 lead.
A Blackbird error followed, but a block kill for Kate Kauffman and Leppelmeier’s drive from the left side put them up 13-9 with only two points left to get. Wauseon’s Kallie Strauss then converted a hard hit shot down the middle, however, the team’s serving error on the next point put them on the brink.
Back-to-back miscues by the Birds made it interesting at 14-12, however, a block which landed out for Wauseon ended the set and the match.
“I thought the fourth and fifth sets were our best and that we played very strong physically and mentally,” stated Horning. “We have worked very hard to make sure the girls are in shape for matches like this.”
Another big turning point which helped swing the match for Pettisville came in the second set when they battled back down 18-12. Kills by Youse and Teagan Kauffman, plus a Wauseon error helped to pull them within three.
Bontrager added a pair of aces, followed by Kauffman’s shot down the middle to knot the score at 18. A pair of service errors by each team, Strauss’ shot at middle and a point for the Birds gave them the lead by one, 21-20.
It would stay even with Wauseon drawing some momentum on Grime’s kill from the right-side to make it 25-24 in their favor. However, three straight points by Pettisville, capped by Teagan Kauffman’s kill from left gave the Birds the set 27-25 and tied the match at one game each.
The third set belonged to the Indians thanks to some excellent hitting from freshman Lexi Sauber.
After the Birds had reduced the Wauseon lead to 20-15, a tip by Sauber and a pair of spikes down the middle around a pair of kills for Pettisville’s Anya Kauffman and Teagan Kauffman kept Wauseon in front, 23-17.
The Indians then hit a shot out for a Blackbird point, but Sauber answered with a drive from right.
“She is really improving. She really is,” stated Blanchong of Sauber. “She is doing the best that she can and working really hard. I am really proud of how far she’s come and she will just keep getting better.”
Kate Kauffman’s point down the middle and Stephanie Hubby’s ace got them within four, however, a block kill by Strauss gave the Indians the third game 25-20.
Teagan Kauffman paced the Birds as she was 7 for 11 hitting with 14 kills and also added 11 digs. Youse was a perfect 10 of 10 hitting with eight kills and four blocks, while Leppelmeier had 10 kills.
Bosell had 12 kills to lead Wauseon and Strauss and Sauber each chipped in with 10. Bosell also notched six aces while Sauber had four blocks.
Wauseon also lost at home to Delta Tuesday, falling in three sets, 20-25, 19-25 and 23-25. Strauss and Karli Penrod paced the Indians with five kills each. Delta’s Jenni Davis and Jessi Davis led the Panthers with nine and 10 kills respectively.
Wauseon next hosts Hilltop today, while Pettisville plays host to Ayersville.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010