OTTAWA – Defense, defense, defense and some solid serving helped Ottawa-Glandorf defeat Lima Central Catholic 3-1 Thursday night.
The Titans overwhelmed the Thunderbirds in the first two games 25-14 and 25-15 but LCC rebounded in the third set to snare a hard-fought 25-22 before succumbing 25-16 in the fourth set.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s first-year head coach Amber Gerderman said the team worked on its defense throughout the preseason.
“All we have been doing is defense, defense, defense,” Gerderman said. “I thought we had some nice defensive players but really have emphasized that we needed to be a more scrappy team and making the correct reads and I think that has been the biggest improvement since I have been with this group.”
Ottawa-Glandorf improves to 4-1 and LCC falls to 3-1 on the season.
LCC head coach Wes Horstman said it was no surprise the Titans were going to be good but he also relayed to his team that if they can play up to their potential they can beat good teams.
“That third set was great, coming back 0-2 against a really nice team,” Horstman said. “You can pack it up and go home after going down and 90 percent of the teams do but give our kids credit for coming out in that third set and really battling and winning a tough set.”
The low point output by LCC in the matches they lost was evident of how stingy the Titan defense was as they made a number of amazing digs as well as being a force at the net.
Serving also had a lot to do with the Titan win.
“We are definitely a good serving team and that is why I think we fell apart in the third set,” Gerderman said. “We had a couple missed serves in that third set and I think that was the difference in that third set.”
It also doesn’t hurt the Titans’ cause when you have a number of offensive weapons as well.
Taylor Alt, the senior standout, recorded 18 kills on the night. Also proving some punch was Erica Annessar with nine kills and freshman Miya Ellerbrock adding six kills.
In the first set, Ottawa-Glandorf recorded six aces. The Titans set the tone early by breaking out to a 12-4 lead after senior Claire Eiden notched an ace to open up the eight-point cushion. O-G maintained its double-digit lead and upped to as much as 14 when 9-3 run that saw junior Lexi Foreman produced three aces in the run to open up a 21-7 advantage that led to the win in set one.
Set two mirrored set one as O-G broke out to a 10-3 advantage and the Thunderbirds never got within eight as the Titans cruised to the 25-15 win in set two.
Despite dropping the first two sets, LCC came alive in the third set and in this time LCC did not let the Titans jump on them early. It didn’t help that the solid serving that was evident in the first two sets didn’t materialize in the third set and LCC took advantage.
The two teams battled throughout the contest and despite O-G trying to pull away the determined Thunderbirds stood tall against the Titans’ tenacious offensive attack and the two teams battled to a 21-21 tie.
LCC took its first lead of the night on the next point after a Makenna Mohler kill and that was followed by three more Thunderbird points to gain a 24-21 advantage. LCC captured the third set when Jocelyn Morrisey recorded a kill to secure the set for Thunderbirds. In that set, Mohler notched seven kills.
“LCC has a couple of nice front row players that can put the ball away for them,” Gerderman said. “They were an extremely scrappy team. We have some good offensive players and we struggled to find ways to get a kill.”
The Titans quickly regrouped in the fourth set and like the first two sets jumped out to a big lead, in this case, 12-4, to take command of the game. Once again serving and defense spearheaded the Titan attack and LCC never recovered from the initial opening and the Titans cruised to the 25-16 victory.
“We know where we need to get to and what we need to do and be successful against good teams,” Horstman said. “We need to replicate that success throughout and not just one set but three sets.”