ELIDA – With three straight Western Buckeye League titles, Ottawa-Glandorf embarked on capturing its fourth in a row with a three set sweep of Elida in the league opener Thursday night. The Titans fending off a determined Bulldog squad 25-20, 25-17 and 25-15.
With a trio of top hitters, the Titans powered their way past the Bulldogs and also utilized some strong defensive blocking up front to secure the victory.
Titan head coach Amber Gerdeman expected a tough match from Elida.
“It was a nice win and we knew Elida was going to be tough this year,” Gerdeman said. “They had seven seniors on their roster and a very experienced team. They had all the pieces to be a great team this year. We had a scouring report on them so we made sure we were bringing our A game which I’m not sure if we did but we definitely came in tonight to play a good team.”
No the Titans were not perfect by any means but Ottawa-Glandorf has a number of weapons and ways to beat teams.
A trio of Titans, Maddie White, Miya Ellerbrock and Erin Kaufman provided the offensive punch up front. Kaufman paced the team with 13 kills and White added 11 kills. Ellerbrock had eight kills and also did her job defensively with 18 digs.
Titan setter Saleigha Ellerbrock had a strong passing game with 35 assists and had two aces and two kills.
“We have a good balance this year,” Gerdeman said. “They White, Ellerbrock and Kaufman) had the majority of our kills tonight. They all did a really nice job and definitely kept us in the game. They made some good choices and swung hard and between the three of them we were able to put some balls away.”
Defensively, the Titans stood tall up front with several key blocks from younger players such as freshman Katie Kaufman and sophomore Chloee Glenn.
“We are a really good blocking team,” Gerdeman said. “Those two at the net put up a really good tall strong block. They really held their own tonight.”
Lexi Fortman had 17 digs and Mia Verhoff had 15 digs to also help in the defensive department.
Elida head coach Traci Sneary said she was disappointed with the loss but was proud of the team’s efforts against the always tough Titans.
“At times we played really, really well and did some really good things but we have we now have to focus on what we are going to do for the rest of the league,” Sneary said. “The league is tough this year and we have a lot of good teams and coming in we knew O-G was good. We battled with them and I tried to use that energy to bring to this game.”
Sneary added that they will learn from this loss.
“We talked in the locker room after the game of what we need to do and everybody needs to do it,” Sneary said. “We need to stay together and play together as a team. At times I felt like we separated a little out on the court and we got quiet and that is one thing you can’t do in volleyball.”
The Bulldogs held close throughout most of the contest but the Titans were able to string together runs that Elida never recovered from and even though their best efforts were turned back by the tenacious Titan defense.
Credit standout Elida libero McKenzie Miller for rally her team throughout the match and keep it close for most of the three sets. The four-year starter also made some tremendous digs against the hard-hitting Titans.
“She (Miller) is a great kid on and off the court,” Sneary said. “She is a big leader out there and is always talking out there. She is is my coach out on the floor. Whatever I can see, she sees. She can see our whole offense and defense and sometimes I go to her and say ‘hey what is going on.’ She is just so helpful out there.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.