Perrysburg volleyball downs Findlay (10-20-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by THOMAS SCHMELTZ, Sentinel Sports Writer   
Sunday, 20 October 2013 15:57
Perrysburg's Maddie Nitschke (9) and Graesyn Pawlak (13) celebrate after scoring a point Saturday during their game against Findlay at Liberty-Benton. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
FINDLAY — Ugly or pretty, it does not matter. A win at this point in the season moves you one step closer to a team’s ultimate goal — a state championship.
Saturday afternoon, Perrysburg’s volleyball team realized it may not have played its best game, but it still prevailed over Findlay in a Division I sectional final at Liberty-Benton High School. PHOTO GALLERY
The Yellow Jackets were haunted by unforced errors, but they played admirable defense in a 25-22, 21-25, 28-26, 25-20 win over the Trojans.
It was the 19th consecutive win for Perrysburg (22-2), ranked No. 9 in the final coaches poll.
The ’Jackets play Clay in the district semifinals on Tuesday at Bowling Green State University’s Stroh Center at 7:30 p.m.
“At this point everyone is playing for their life right now,” said Perrysburg head coach Jamie Babcock. “Every ball and every point is going to have a little bit more behind it and that’s something we have to learn and get a little bit better at. Each point matters.”
“We were kind of on a roller coaster. Our energy was up and down,” said Perrysburg’s Audra Appold, who had 16 kills and 16 digs.
In the third and fourth sets, Perrysburg found itself with large leads, only to have them taken away by a Findlay scoring run.
The ’Jackets led by as much as 15-5 in the crucial third set, but the Trojans (14-10) tied the match at 22 in the midst of a 6-0 scoring run, which eventually gave them a 23-22 lead.
Then in what turned out to be the final set, Perrysburg held a 24-17 lead before Findlay made a late charge to get within 24-20 after a kill by Ciara Ralston. But the ’Jackets clinched the match after Findlay’s ensuing serve went into the net.
“We got comfortable. And you can never get comfortable when you’re playing good teams,” Perrysburg libero Graesyn Pawlak (26 digs, three aces) said referring to Findlay’s ability to overcome large deficits. “They’re always going to fight back.”
Perrysburg appeared to be in complete control after splitting the opening two sets. The ’Jackets stormed out to a 4-2 lead in the third set before an 11-3 scoring run made it 15-5.
But Findlay cut its deficit to 18-9 before rattling off seven straight points. The 7-0 run was aided by two Perrysburg unforced errors and two service aces by Findlay’s Lindsay George.
“Volleyball is such a momentum game and it’s hard to keep that momentum for all 25 points of how ever many sets you need to play,” Babcock said. “They adjusted that and then answered back and finished strong.”
Trailing 22-17, Findlay took its second timeout of the set before taking the next six points for a 23-22 lead. The 6-0 run was capped by a Kelsey Schroeder kill.
Findlay and Perrysburg traded points until a kill from Appold and an ace by Chloe Matuga (38 assists) gave the ’Jackets a 26-25 lead. Ralston answered with a powerful stroke only to have Appold come back with her 11th kill of the match. On the next exchange, the Trojans were called for four hits, giving Perrysburg the 28-26 win.
“We pride ourselves on the confidence that we have and the confidence that we have in each other,” Babcock said. “We don’t get rattled. We get down like that, it’s just part of the game and we’ve learned to accept that. It’s all about how you answer back and they did a great job of it.”
With the errors and sometimes lack of energy, Perrysburg was forced to rely on its defense to stymie the attackers for Findlay. Schroeder and Ralston combined for 24 kills for the Trojans.
The ’Jackets’ defense was led by Pawlak, but was aided by Savannah Miller with 16 digs and Madi Nitschke with 11 digs. Miller also had eight kills, while Shannon Fastnacht had 10 kills and four blocks.
“Our defense won us this match,” Babock said. “We’ve got great attackers as well, but they say defense wins championships and today proved it. I’m really proud of our defense.”
“Our blocking was huge for us,” Pawlak said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 22:44

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