OTTOVILLE – Something had to give.
With two state-ranked volleyball teams in Putnam County matching up, there had to be a winner, and there had to be a loser.
Ottoville, ranked fifth in Division IV, and Ottawa-Glandorf, ranked sixth in Division III, met at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium Monday night in a huge non-conference match.
Both teams ventured into unchartered waters Monday, as the match went five sets, before Ottoville finally put O-G away for the win.
With the victory, Ottoville moves to 14-0, while O-G slips to 10-3.
Coming into Monday’s contest, Ottoville had lost only three sets all season, while O-G had dropped just nine.
On Monday, after Ottoville won the first two sets 25-21, 25-21, O-G then rallied, taking the next two sets 25-23, 25-21.
In the fifth and final set, Ottoville came out strong, pushing out to a 7-2 lead, behind the strong hitting of C.J. Kemper and Brynlee Hanneman. The Titans cut the deficit to 7-6, but the Big Green came roaring back to close out the set, 15-6.
“The key to tonight is that I just kept telling my girls they just had to believe that they could do it,” Ottoville coach Kelsey McCluer said. “O-G rallied back. … I knew coming into this game, it was going to be tough. We scouted them, and they scouted us. They have really good hitters. We just had to make adjustments, defensively. We had to switch things up. But, my girls fought hard in Games 3 and 4, when O-G put two (wins) on us. Then in Game 5, I told the girls that it was all or nothing. I told them to leave it all out there; and they did that in the fifth set.”
Kemper led Ottoville with 22 kills on the night. Teammates Bridget Landin and Hanneman recorded 15 and seven kills, respectively.
For O-G, Taylor Alt led the way with 22 kills. Erica Annesser smashed 11 kills, while Carly Alt added 10.
“I was (concerned about going five sets), but I told the girls they just had to come in relaxed,” McCluer said. “They were very composed when they stepped out on the court, and that really helped.”
Longtime O-G coach Ann Ellerbrock said Monday’s match was full of momentum swings.
“In the first two sets, we had a lot of individual errors. Ottoville did take us out of our game, but we had a lot of serving errors and a lot of mental errors. So, we
cleaned that up in Games 3 and 4. I thought the momentum had shifted, but we came out and had a couple mental errors to begin the last game (fifth set).
“We haven’t been tested this far. But, we could have given up after two (sets). We could have packed it up. So, I have to give our girls a lot of credit, coming out (strong) in Game 3 and Game 4,” Ellerbrock said.