With almost an identical score in each of the three sets, Wauseon cruised to a 25-14, 25-16, 25-15 home win against Delta in NWOAL volleyball Tuesday.
“I told the girls not to take anything for granted,” said Wauseon coach Bill Blanchong on his pregame message to his team. “We’ve worked really hard to be a contender in the league. And I guess that was really our focus tonight. To be on the attack and to be aggressive.”
It was the Indians’ third straight victory in league play after a loss to undefeated Swanton in the opener.
“We’ve had good competition,” stated Blanchong, referring to the season as a whole. “We beat PH, we beat Evergreen, we beat Rossford. Holgate is very improved, and we beat them last week. I’ve been very pleased with how the girls have performed. I think that we are gonna definitely put together a nice win streak here.”
In the first set, following an error which trimmed the Wauseon lead to 19-13, Delta would be limited to just one point the rest of the way.
After back-to-back Indian points, the second thanks to a Panther miscue, Delta’s Brooklyn Wymer answered with a kill from the right side. Wauseon put them away thanks to a hard shot from Lexi Sauber, Karli Penrod’s tip at the net, and consecutive Panther hitting errors.
The Indians scored seven straight in game two, giving them the cushion they needed.
With the score knotted at 9 apiece, Penrod scored from the left side twice around a Jen Sanders kill. A Delta hitting error, another Wauseon point, and a pair of Kelcy Blanchong aces for the Indians pushed their lead to 16-9. Delta stayed within single digits but the end result was a 25-16 victory for Wauseon to put them up two sets to none.
The Panthers led 3-0 early in game three on a pair of Indian errors and Kinsey Finnen’s shot from the left side. However, the Indians later knotted it at 6-6 following Sauber’s shot down the middle. She then added another strike down the middle, Sydney Zirkle pounded one from the right side, and Sauber registered an ace to put the Indians on top 9-6.
“We couldn’t stop (Sauber), as I would assume most teams can’t. She hurt us in the front row,” said Delta coach Kelly Finnen.
Delta did battle back to take the lead after a Wauseon serving error and hitting miscue, Madi Nadolny’s kill from the left, and Abby Freeman’s dig that fell for a point. However, Wauseon’s Reagan Spadafore responded with a right-side kill and Penrod got a block to make it 11-10 in favor of the Indians, a lead they would not relinquish.
“We sided out really well,” said coach Blanchong of the match. “I think there was only one time where we let a girl get three in a row on us. And normally we were siding out right away.
“Our serve-receive has been really good. I still would like to see us continue to defensively be faster. And play quicker. So that we can hold serve and stuff. But I was very pleased with tonight.”
Sauber paced the Indians as she was 17 of 20 hitting with 11 kills, seven digs, and three blocks. Sanders added nine kills and four blocks on 18 of 19 hitting, while Penrod was 19 for 21 with eight kills and eight digs.
For Delta, Finnen collected 13 kills and 14 digs, while Wymer chipped in with five kills and 10 digs.
“I’m proud of the effort my girls continue to give in the game of competition,” noted coach Finnen. “They don’t give up and we continue to be the best we can. As a coach (I) couldn’t ask for more.”
Wauseon is at Bowsher Thursday, and hosts Fairview and North Central in a home tri-match on Saturday. Delta welcomes Toledo Start for a match on Thursday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010