DELPHOS — Ottoville, which has endured an inconsistent early season, is hoping a straight set win against Delphos Jefferson, 25-17, 25-10 and 26-24, Thursday night is the catalyst to a more consistent season as the Big Green gets into the heart of the schedule.
Ottoville improves to 4-4 on the year and Jefferson slips to 3-5.
Big Green head coach Kelsey Wolfe said her team came out strong in the first two sets but had to battle in the third set to secure the win. Wolfe added the second game is indicative of how good this team could be.
“We lost a very tough match on Tuesday against Van Wert in five sets but I have to keep telling myself this is a brand new team,” Wolfe said. “So I told them to go out there have fun and play with confidence and that is the team we saw in that second set. That is who we are.”
However, the third set showed this team is a work in progress and are still learning to work as a single unit.
“When I called that time out, the girls needed a break (with the score tied late in the third set),” Wolfe said. “We needed to relax, take a breath and go back on that court. I knew they were fine but they were bottled up with themselves that they had to know they had to pull through and dig.”
For Jefferson it was a frustrating night, especially in the first two sets, that Ottoville dominated.
In the first set, the two teams battled to a 14-14 tie, but thanks to the kills and aces from Quinley Schlagbaum, the Big Green outscored the Wildcats 11-3 the rest of the way to snare the victory.
Ottoville owned the second set. Tied at 4-4, the Big Green went on an 11-2 run to open up a 10-point advantage and then cruised from there. In the set, Ottoville’s Brynlee Henneman, who was a force at the net all night, was instrumental with numerous blocks and five kills in the set.
Jefferson’s head coach, Jacklyn Smith, who had her players running suicides after the match, said it was tough night for her team.
“I think we are moving in the right direction just not as fast as I would like,” Smith said. “They ran tonight for missed serves. I told them what they did tonight is what I want them to do in a game that when they are tired and they are hurting they need to give all and push their bodies more.”
Smith added the team has been competitive in every single game minus one.
“We are right there,” Smith said. “We just need to be more positive and the girls need to think more of themselves.”
For Jefferson, Courtney Teman had seven kills and Delaney Deuhl six kills.
Wolfe got a lot of contributions from different players on the night.
Hanneman finished with nine kills, 15 digs and seven blocks and Quinley Schlagbaum recorded 11 kills, 15 digs and six blocks. Kylee Hoersten produced 31 assists and Olivia Gamble had 24 digs.
“Brynlee Hanneman and Quinley Schlagbaum are a huge part of this team and they get tired too so we have to rely on other girls too so I talked to our freshman Rachel Kemper to come in and she started hitting those gaps,” Wolfe said. “Most teams anticipate that those two girls are going to get set and when we go to that next person they are not always there and I was happy other people stepping up.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.