Wapakoneta Redskins sophomore Faith Hensley (14), left, sets the ball for junior Lea Stoner (22) in a Western Buckeye League varsity volleyball match Thursday against the Bath Wildkittens. (Staff photo/William Laney)
After securing a first game win, Wapakoneta Redskin varsity volleyball coach Amy Ruppert felt her team had finally shaken off the “albatross around their neck,” but the Bath Wildkittens battled back Thursday in the second game and took the last two in convincing fashion.
The Redskins started strong winning the first game, 25-14, but after trailing early in the second set and coming within a point at 19-18 on an ace by sophomore Addy Gray, they could not close out the set. Bath took advantage of serve-receive errors and won 25-19, 25-11 and 25-14 to win the Western Buckeye League match.
“We started out exactly as we prepared for the game,” Ruppert said. “We had great hands at the net, when we hit the ball we hit it hard and I think we limited ourselves to one service error in the first set.
“We have been trying really hard to get more production out of our middles and that starts with a good pass — and I felt we were able to do that in the first set, and midway through the second set, we were able to do that as well,” she said. “There just comes a time where the serve-receive errors started to catch up and the next thing you know we are behind. That has been the albatross around our neck is this serve-receive game.”
Wapak played consistently in the first game, pulling ahead 6-1 then 12-3 and finally 21-9 before the teams played even and the Redskins closed it out 25-14.
The Wildkittens jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Redskins battled to trail 10-6 and then closed the lead even further behind services by senior Erin Schnell, junior Josie Miller and sophomores Jadyn Nuss and Gray.
After getting close in the second game at 19-18, the Wildkittens took command and won the set.
While Bath did not change their attack, seniors Kristen Davis and Danielle VanDyne changed their method of operation by mixing up spikes with drop shots depending on the position of the Redskin setters.
“When we came out, we came out very slow and I told the girls if we expect to win then we cannot play like that,” Wildkitten varsity coach Mandy Green said. “We need to start playing together and as a team and they did so in the second, third and fourth game.
“I told the girls that we had to move their feet,” she said. “We tipped a lot in the first game and I told them they have to swing and that is what they started to do and that worked for us.”
Ruppert said the Wildkittens tipping the ball forced her to pull a setter up to defend one shot over the other and the Wildkitten players adjusted when they saw the opening.
“We were trying to adjust our defense because they were trying to tip the ball versus hit the ball because they were adjusting for the fact when they were hitting the ball they were hitting it out of bounds so they went to tipping the ball,” Ruppert said.
Bath’s attack proved dominating in the third game which saw the Redskins take a 4-1 lead only to watch it evaporate on one turn. They trailed 8-4 and the Wildcats did not let up grabbing a 18-5 lead before a flurry by Wapak at the end of the set made it a little closer.
The fourth game followed the same pattern.
The Wapakoneta Redskins junior varsity squad lost the opening game 25-22 and then recovered to win an exciting second game, 25-21, and then dominated the third for the win, 25-10.
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