KALIDA — Everything was coming aces in Ottawa-Glandorf’s straight set, 25-11, 25-15 and 25-17 win against Liberty-Benton in the Division III district semifinals Wednesday night.
With the win, Ottawa-Glandorf (21-3) advances to the district final against Coldwater in Kalida at 3 p.m. Saturday. Liberty-Benton ends its year with a 23-2 mark. Earlier in the year, Coldwater defeated Ottawa-Glandorf in two sets, 25-17, 25-18 during the Coldwater Invitational.
The Titans, who already boast a host of strong hitters on their front line, coupled that with some solid serving, to handle the Eagles in what many thought would be a closer match.
The aces came into play midway through the first set. Tied at 9-9, the Titans would go on a 16-2 to run to close out the first set in dominating fashion. In the lopsided run, Ottawa-Glandorf would serve 11 straight points that included four aces from standout senior Kendra Kahle. The talented setter, known more for her assists than aces, continually pummelled the Eagles with deft serves to keep them off balance or record the ace.
Aces proved to be a key factor in the second set as well.
Maintaining a slim 10-8 lead, the Titans recorded eight straight points to give themselves a 18-8 advantage. In the scoring spree, Ottawa-Glandorf notched fours aces from Taylor Alt with the last one capping off the run. Alt, like Kahle, served 11 straight points. From there, the Titans relied on their hitters to carry them the rest of the way for the 25-14 win.
“Those two big runs in game one and game two were more important than the firepower,” said Titan head coach Ann Ellerbrock who said the aces allowed her team to produce the big win. “The firepower is because we are able to stay in our system and run our offense.”
With two sets under their belts, the confident Titans shared the scoring wealth in the third game, as six different Titans would record kills. Tied at 12-12 in the third set, the Titans’ front line began to flex its muscles with big spikes from Taylor Alt and Erica Annesseser highlighting an 8-3 run to give the Titans a 20-15 advantage en route to the 25-17 victory.
Alt, in addition to her four aces, finished with 11 kills and 10 digs. Along with her four aces, Kahle recorded 29 assists. Carly Alt finished with eight kills and four blocks and Sydney Heitmeyer ended up with six kills and four blocks. Brooke Kleman had 14 kills and Maddie White added eight kills.
The excellent serving also prevented the Eagles from establishing a rhythm to their offense and they often found themselves back on their heels instead of being the aggressors.
Ellerbrock said the game plan was to prevent the Eagles from establishing their middle presence that can be dangerous with Caitlin Elseser roaming at the net.
“If we could some way keep them from running their middle than that was our goal,” Ellerbrock said.
Many thought this contest might go four or five sets but Ellerbrock said she was not surprised by her team’s dominating performance against Liberty-Benton that had lost one game all season.
Ellerbrock said they played them in an early tournament this year and the Titan head coach said she felt her team was ready for the challenge.
“We played earlier this summer at the Maumee Bay tournament and I looked back yesterday at practice and the scores were pretty lopsided our way … and I saw some video … and I felt confident. We play a strong WBL schedule and strong nonleague schedule so it keeps us at a higher faster level.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1