CELINA – Technically it was not for the Western Buckeye League title, but Ottawa-Glandorf head coach Amber Miller knew that beating Celina would go a long way in helping the Titans to another league crown.
So the Titans brought their best game and downed the scrappy Bulldogs in straight sets, 25-18, 25-21 and 25-18 to snare the victory and grab a firm grip on another WBL championship Thursday.
The Titans remain unbeaten on the season at 13-0 and in the Western Buckeye League at 5-0. Celina, who’s losses have come to ranked opponents, falls to 7-4 on the season and the Bulldogs suffer their first league loss and drop to 3-1.
“Both teams were undefeated in the WBL coming in and we knew we had to pull out all our cards for this match,” Miller said. “We thought this could possibly be the WBL championship game. They are really tough team and they are going to put up a fight. We came into thinking this might be for the WBL title.”
One of the primary reasons for the win was the Titans’ defensive effort at the net and its stellar blocking through the night.
Led by Katie Kaufman (four blocks) Erin Kaufman (two blocks) and Chloe Glenn (two blocks), the Titans came up with big stops to keep the Bulldogs from making big offensive run and keeping Celina off balanced.
“We did a great job blocking tonight,” Miller said. “We wanted to key in on their two middles who are really strong for them and we really wanted to focus on them and did a nice job shutting them down and Saleigha Ellerbrock and Chloe Glenn did a nice job shutting down their outside.”
Celina head coach Angela Bourne agreed that the Titans’ blocking was the difference.
Blocking No. 1,” Bourne said. “We have a fairly short team but we work very hard defensively to try to make the runs that we can.”
Bourne added that the Bulldogs, also knowing they would have to bring their best effort, practiced all week for Ottawa-Glandorf.
“We worked on serving their weaknesses,” Bourne said. “We knew where they would swing and who they were going to set. We worked on a million top spins and serves and we started out kind of crazy but at the end we were passing nails. Our serve receive and defense did really well we just had a hard time putting the ball away.”
Offensively, the Titans shared the wealth with Miya Ellerbrock recording nine kills and Erin Kaufman adding seven kills. Also coming up with big spikes were Katie Kaufman with three kills and Maddie White with seven kills.
Miya Ellerbrock also had 10 digs and White added three aces and eight digs. Saleigha Ellerbrock notched 23 assists. Lexi Fortman had two aces and 15 digs.
In addition to its blocking and offensive skills, the Titans showed championship form in the second match when Celina grabbed a 14-10 lead and looked to grab the momentum after losing a tough fought first set.
Down 14-10, Ottawa-Glandorf went on a 8-4 run, highlighted by a pair of kills from White and one from Katie Kaufman, the Titans stormed back to knot the score. The run was enough to give the Titans the momentum and then closed out the exciting set.
“This group are go-getters,” Miller said. “They are fighters. They don’t like to lose. They are going to do whatever it takes to win so when they look up at the score and see it is getting close then they really start picking it up.”