MILLBURY — Ottawa-Glandorf’s Taylor Alt came away a little bloodied after being hit in the face with the ball after facing Galion, but it was the standout senior who was doling out the punishment against a talented Tigers team to help carry the Titans to a 3-1 Division III regional semifinal win Saturday night..
The Titans won the first set 25-14, dropped the second set 25-21, and then followed it up with back-to-back wins of 25-14 and 25-8 to secure the spot in the regional finals.
The Titans will take on rival Liberty-Benton at 3 p.m. Saturday with the winner heading to the state semifinals.
Alt finished the contest with 24 kills, two aces and 18 digs to spearhead the Titan offensive attack.
“Taylor Alt was on tonight,” Ottawa-Glandorf head coach Amber Gerdeman said. “One things I don’t think she gets enough credit for is that in big games when we need someone to step up she doesn’t fall under pressure. She performs. She reaches higher.”
Gerdeman added that Alt was spectacular but added that it she got plenty of help from her teammates.
“Taylor is an amazing player but we some other really good offensive players who we want to incorporate them and they will also get some kills for us,” Gerdeman said.
Titan Erica Annesser had 11 kills, one ace and 19 digs and teammate Claire Eiden had 18 digs. Erin Kauffman had eight kills and Brianna Schmmmoeller had 28 assists and one ace.
Perhaps one of the biggest turning points came early in the third period. Galion, who had captured the second set, looked to keep that momentum going.
And it appeared that way when Galion scored a point and went up 4-1. But instead of a three-point advantage, the referees ruled that the Tigers had served out of turn and the score reverted back to 2-2.
From there the Titans reeled off five straight points to open up a 7-2 advantage and despite the Tigers making a run, Ottawa-Glandorf held off Galion to capture the important third set.
With that third match victory, the momentum had completely shifted to Ottawa-Glandorf who broke out to 10-3 lead in the fourth set and cruised to the 25-8 win. It seemed only fitting that Alt get the final kill to secure the win.
Gerdeman said in the second set Galion switched up their defense to offset Alt and Co. and it paid off so in the third set, the Titans adjusted and the move paid off.
“We were kind of slow to make the adjustment on our side and that was a big reason we lost that second set,” Gerdeman said. “But in third and fourth set our hitters started to make the adjustments and we started hitting the different shots against their rotational defense and that really made a huge difference.”
Gerdeman added that the team’s defense also played a key role in the win.
“We take pride in our defense,” the Titan head coach said. “No ball hits the ground without a serious effort from us and you saw that and that is a big reason why we made it to the regional finals because we have really tough defense.”
Behind the efforts of Alt, the Titans established a big lead early in the match to secure the win. Tied 4-4, Ottawa-Glandorf went on a 6-1 run to open up a 10-5 advantage. In that run Alt produced two kills.
From there the Titans continued to extend their lead and owned a seven-point cushion, 18-11 after another Alt ill. The Tigers sliced into the with a quick 5-1 run to make interesting down the stretch but O-G fended off Galion’s attack and secured the 25-19 first set.