|Archbold holds off Otsego volleyball (10-28-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Monday, 28 October 2013 09:55|
The Knights have a bright future.
Although Archbold rallied for a 22-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory, Otsego's expectations will be even higher next season. PHOTO GALLERY
The Knights graduate just one senior from a team that finished 21-5 overall and won the Northern Buckeye Conference championship.
Otsego's post-season run wouldn't have been a surprise at the start of the season.
But coach Cheryl Jones kicked two of her best back-row players, both seniors, off the team for undisclosed reasons after a 13-1 NBC season.
That left Otsego with one senior, three juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen for the tournament.
Instead of collapsing, the Knights flourished. They played consistently well, and mixed in a huge supply of hard work, grit and mental toughness.
Otsego's only senior was Lindsey Donald, who will be difficult to replace. She contributed offensively and defensively, and was one of the team leaders.
"For the young kids coming back next year, this will make them hungry for what they seriously could do next season," Jones said. "I knew we could be successful this season, but knowing it and talking the talk is a whole lot different than walking the walk. Our season was very impressive."
Otsego was sharp during most of the first three sets, but couldn't hold leads of 16-9 and 21-16 in the second set to keep Archbold in the match.
The Blue Streaks were outstanding over the last two sets.
Still, Otsego erased deficits of 10-3 and 13-10 in the final set before Archbold closed out the match.
The Blue Streaks, regional semifinalists last season, are 14-11.
Otsego's leaders were: Mackenzy Varner, 47 assists, 11 digs; Morgan Smoyer 14, kills; Abby Hesselschwardt, 21 kills; Donald, 16 digs; and Kylie Asmus, 11 digs.
"We played well," Jones said. "I'm tickled over what we did. But as young as we are, you never know if they're going to come to play or not, and they did come to play.
"There were moments where that inexperience, being young pups, showed," Jones added. "I kept telling them be aggressive, believe, believe. Our inexperience showed and then Archbold really came on strong, especially in the fifth set."
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