CELINA — Ottawa-Glandorf suffered its first volleyball loss of the season Sept. 11 to Toledo St. Ursula but the Titans have shown no signs of a let down since that defeat.
After handling Van Wert last Thursday the Titans continued their winning ways by taking care of Celina in straight sets, 25-12, 25-20 and 25-15 Thursday night.
It took a little over an hour for the Titans to defeat Celina and improve to 11-1 and 4-0 in the WBL. Celina suffers its first loss in the league and slip to 3-1 in the WBL and 5-7 for the season.
Ottawa-Glandorf, ranked No. 3 in Division III, set the tone early when they pounced on the Bulldogs early by jumping out to a 8-0 led in the first game. In that run, Kendra Ellerbrock’s deft serving was the key as she produced four aces in those first eight points.
“That did set the tone early and we did serve aggressive the rest of the night and our ace total was around 12-13 aces and we work on that consistently in practice,” said Titan head coach Ann Ellerbrock said. “That part of our game plan worked tonight.”
A lead like that may not seem insurmountable for most teams, but against a team like Ottawa-Glandorf it would be like climbing Mount Everest. Not impossible but extremely difficult and the Bulldogs found out how hard it is to try and climb that comeback mountain against Ottawa-Glandorf.
Celina head coach Amy Sutter said her team was fired up to take on the Titans and suggested that they might have been too hyped up for the challenge.
“I kind of feel like we were so ready and that were so up for the game that we were almost too up. You know how you can get that way,” said Sutter, who returned three players with any significant court time from last year. “We also made a lot of our own errors. I don’t think it was anything they were doing. They are solid team don’t get me wrong but I don’t think they were giving us anything that we couldn’t handle.”
Sutter added that they are relying on sophomores and juniors and their confidence level is quite there yet and the Bulldogs have gotten off to slow starts and it has become a pattern the Bulldog coach would like to break.
“We weren’t controlling the ball and we are a better passing team than that,” Sutter said.
Celina refocused for the second game and the two teams battled to a 17-17 tie but down the stretch, the experienced Titans, behind some timely kills from Erica Annesser spearheaded a 8-2 run to give Ottawa-Glandorf the win.
Celina did get some solid blocks from Maddy Luebke, Kayla Brunswick and Samantha Carlin to help stem the Titan tide momentarily but Ottawa-Glandorf ‘s unrelenting attack was too much for the Bulldogs to handle.
By the third set, the Ottawa-Glandorf offense was working like a well-oiled machine and the Titans jumped out to a 10-5 advantage. The spirited Bulldogs would get as close as four at one point, 14-10, at one point but then Taylor Alt who had not made much noise in the first two games came alive to help the Titans to a 6-1 run. With that momentum, O-G finished off the Bulldogs with a 7-3 run.
Alt, who finished with 11 total kills, had six of those in the third set.
Ellerbrock admitted that Celina adjusted to the talented Titan outside hitters and that curtailed some of the scoring, but the veteran O-G squad proved to have too many weapons in the end.
“We have some nice outside hitters so their blockers seemed to be camping out over there and Taylor tried to get as many successful kills that we could give her so we had to start spreading out a little bit.”
In the final two sets, Annesser, Kasey Ellerbrock and Maddie White filled the void until Alt began to assert herself in the final game.
While the offense came alive in the second and third sets, it was the Titans’ defense that stood tall throughout the match as Titan libero Claire Eiden made spectacular dig after dig or the front line of Annesser, Kasey Ellerbrock and Maddie White providing a solid wall up front.
White finished with five kills and three blocks and Annesser added six kills. Kendra Ellerbrock finished with five aces and 15 assists.
“We just played tenacious defense,” Ellerbrock said. “It started with our libero Claire Eiden and then the big girls like Taylor are so long and lanky and she could touch a lot of balls and Erica Annesser had the pancake there when we had the rally (in the third set). Defense wins championships. We have a nice offensive team but defense is going to keep us in a lot of tight games.