TONTOGANY — Lake and Otsego were both 6-0 in Northern Buckeye Conference play heading into Tuesday’s volleyball showdown at Otsego.
The Knights finished things quickly, sweeping the Flyers 3-0. Otsego won the first two sets, 25-15, 25-15 before rallying for a 25-23 victory in the third set.
Otsego is now 8-1 overall and 7-0 in the NBC. Lake is 10-3, 6-1. The second-half of the conference season starts Thursday.
“We have been working really hard in practices. We have a new setter, so a lot of things have been different from last year,” Otsego senior Taylor Cepek said. “It has really clicked from the get-go. As long as our passes are up, our players have been awesome and our hits are awesome.”
Otsego had very few problems in the first two sets.
“We were very focused in the first set and the second set,” Otsego head coach Cheryl Jones said. “In the third set, we had three missed serves right in a row. You don’t do that in volleyball and that was with upper-classmen. Sometimes you don’t have the opportunity to bring it back.”
Lake was having problems gaining traction in the first two sets.
“We had so many unforced errors, being out of position and not doing what we were told. It ended up biting us big time,” Lake head coach Amy Vorst said.
“We know that Otsego is always good. We know that they have big hitters and that they service aggressively,” Vorst continued. “They stuck with their gameplan of what they were supposed to do.”
Otsego scored the first three points of the first set and never trailed.
The Flyers took an early lead in the second set, but Knights made it 5-4 and never trailed again.
The third set turned out to be very competitive and Lake put Otsego to the test. The Flyers held a 17-13 lead, but Otsego rallied to make it 18-18 and it remained close until the end.
Lake led 22-21 and it was tied at 23 before Hannah Smoyer’s block gave the Knights a 24-23 lead. Cepek’s kill off Paige Varner’s set was the game-winner.
Cepek said she knew the ball was coming to her.
“Most people tip to get the game over. But I decided to go with the hit and end it,” Cepek said.
“We work in practice on those type of situations,” Cepek added about the third set. “I think we were all ready for it.”
“She is a sweet player,” Jones said about Cepek. “She just seems to be very relaxed and skies right over it.”
Vorst said Kortney Ellison is usually one of the Flyers top kill getters, but she was shut down by the Knights defense.
“We would go middle, go middle, but our passes were off target because we were not moving our feet,” Vorst said.
“I told the girls it’s not over; they have to come to our place … I told them not to let this define them for the rest of the season,” she added.