KALIDA — Up 23-22 in the first set, Ottawa-Glandorf was on the verge of capturing the opener against Coldwater and grabbing the early momentum in the Division III district final Saturday.
Instead, the top-seeded Cavaliers reeled off three consecutive kills to secure the first set and seize the momentun that would propel Coldwater to win the last two sets, 25-17 and 25-21, and capture the district title.
With the win, Coldwater (26-1) advances to the regionals to face Marion Pleasant, a 3-1 winner against Northmore, at Lake High School at 6 p.m. Thursday. Ottawa-Glandorf ends its season with a 21-4 mark.
“I cannot fault our effort today.” Titans head coach Ann Ellerbrock said. “They did not give up and they battled for every point. Some of those rallies would go back and forth five or six times. They would win some of the close ones and we would win some of the close ones. It was a shame we couldn’t get one those and go to set five.”
Cavalier head coach Nicki Etzler said her team came in with a game plan.
“We did it as a team that is for sure,” Etzler said. “We took care of our strategy which I think is great because as a coaching staff we give them a strategy and they execute it and that was incredible for us. We were excited about using really aggressive serving and then utilizing our middle and transition so we had pretty aggressive blocking as well.”
In addition to Coldwater’s tough serving, the Cavaliers also handled the Titans’ serving that had been effective throughout the year. Ottawa-Glandorf was limited to three aces.
For the game, O-G’s Taylor Alt finished with 15 kills and three blocks and teammate Erica Annesser collected six kills and four blocks. Setter Kendra Kahle recorded 29 assists.
But perhaps the busiest Titan was Brooke Kleman. The Ottawa-Glandorf libero was peppered with numerous shots and made some tremendous digs to keep the Titans close throughout the match. Kleman would finish with 30 digs. Carly Alt and Taylor Alt each notched 14 digs and Kahle added 13 digs.
But even Kleman’s solid showing was not enough to offset Coldwater’s heavy hitters who wore down the Titan defense. But more importantly it was the Cavaliers defense that continually thwarted numerous Ottawa-Glandorf spikes and dinks to make the Titans work for almost every point.
“Our defense has really been good all year and they are gritty and get after it,” Etzler said. “We knew it was going to be a good contest tonight.”
Ellerbrock said prior to the contest against Coldwater the team tried finding holes in the defense but the Titan head coach said during the match every time it appeared Ottawa-Glandorf would find a hole, a Cavalier player was there to dig it out.
“Their defense is stellar and we thought some balls that were going to be down they would find a way to get them back up,” Ellerbrock said.
With the end of the season, Ellerbrock says good-bye to seven seniors and she said they were a group that brought a lot of great leadership and passion to the program.
“They really knew what it meant to be a team,” Ellerbrock said. “There were role players on this team that did not see a lot of playing time and some stellar players that made the papers every week but at practice you would not know the haves and the have-nots. They really gelled, understood their role and practice hard. They set the culture in our gym everyday.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1