WHITEHOUSE — There is an old saying in net sports like volleyball and tennis that goes, “Hit them where they aren’t.”
That is what Perrysburg junior middle blocker Wrigley Takats did time after time in the first two sets while leading the Yellow Jackets to a 25-19, 26-24, 17-25, 25-20 Northern Lakes League volleyball victory over Anthony Wayne.
Takats said finding open spots on the floor is all about court awareness. She finished with 14 kills.
“I think it’s good to know where everyone is at and to place the ball well so I can serve my team,” Takats said.
Perrysburg coach Laura Davidson added that it’s part of the gameplan.
“We definitely scout the other side, so she was going for those spots that we told her were open, so she just did a great job executing the gameplan,” Davidson said.
While Takats was finding open spots on AW’s side, senior outside hitter Josie Hubbard was pounding kills at full speed into the Generals, daring them to dig her shots out. Hubbard finished with a team high 15 kills and two blocks.
Perrysburg improved to 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the NLL, while AW fell to 7-3 and 4-2. The Yellow Jackets needed the victory after losing to Springfield (8-3, 4-1) in three sets on Sept. 8.
“Absolutely we needed that,” Davidson said. “We needed it for our confidence, and obviously I think there are a lot of teams battling for the NLL this year, so we want to be one of those teams, so it’s going to be a fun year.”
In the third set it seemed as if AW caught on to Perrysburg’s gameplan, and the Generals led by as much as nine, 18-9, late in the set and held on for the 25-17 victory.
“I’m really proud of the way we fought back,” AW coach Chrissy Graven said. “Our girls have a lot of fight in them. I wish we’d have started a little stronger, but with four freshmen on the court, they have the energy and the fight.”
In the fourth set, AW led 14-10, but Perrysburg scored 14 of the next 19 points on four kills apiece from Takats and Hubbard. The final point was scored on a service error by AW.
That stretch also included two consecutive aces by Perrysburg freshman setter Casey Ng, a kill by senior outside hitter Sara Pahl, and a shared block by senior setter Giana Frayer and senior hitter Danielle Cleavenger.
The Yellow Jackets’ renewed energy saved them from having to face the Generals in a fifth and deciding set.
AW was the team that handed Springfield their lone NLL loss in four sets, so it was well known how dangerous the Generals could be.
“I think in the fourth set we just had to trust each other and dig deep because we knew we shouldn’t have lost that third set,” Takats said. “It was all our mistakes, so we just had to rely, and trust each other more and score more.”
Davidson added, “We struggled a little bit, but we ultimately knew we needed to put our side together to get the win. I think things started clicking and they ran with it.”
Pahl finished with 13 kills and an ace, Frayer had four aces and four blocks, and Cleavenger had four kills and two blocks.
Perrysburg sophomore outside hitter Mackenzie Hurley had three kills and a block, and sophomore outside hitter Sophie Burkey had three kills.
Two freshmen outside hitters carried the load for AW at the net. Mallory Pike led AW with 12 kills, four aces and three blocks and Kensie Butler had 10 kills and a block.
For the Generals, senior Ava Horn had seven kills, four aces, and four blocks and freshman Leah Pike had five kills and a block.
AW senior Paige Ludwig had three kills and two blocks, sophomore Ryan Dzierwa had two kills, senior Lauren Sugg had two aces, and junior Elayna Sonnenberg had four blocks.