LEIPSIC — Leipsic got its Putnam County League season underway in convincing fashion with a three set sweep, 25-8, 25-16 and 25-8 victory over Columbus Grove Tuesday night.
With the win, Leipsic improves to 5-0 on the year and 1-0 in the PCL. Columbus Grove falls to 0-1 in the league and 1-3 for the season
The Vikings’ excellent serving, strong hitting up front and a defense anchored by senior libero Jocie Hermiller all played major roles in the sweep.
Leipsic head coach Brent Newell said it was the serving that was instrumental in the Vikings’ win.
“I liked the way we served the ball,” Newland said. “”I think we served 10 aces tonight. We only missed like three serves so that is a good ratio for us and they had a hard time passing our serves. We had a lot of aces and a lot of three balls back tonight.”
Leipsic’s Kasey Brough notched six saves to lead the team and had four of those in the third set. Marissa Hermiller added two aces.
Not to be overlooked was the Vikings’ offense that boast a number of players who can spike the ball and produce kills. It doesn’t hurt when you get excellent sets from Serenity Siefer who had 27 assists on the night and was 65 of 67 setting.
Senior Peyton Heitmeyer led the team with 9 kills. Sophomore Alivia Jones totaled 8 kills and Marisa Hermiller tallied 6 kills. Brough had 4 kills and Ava Henry added 3 kills.
“We have five solid hitters who are not scared to set any of those five,” Newell said. “We can back set just as quickly as to the outside or the middle and it is kind of hard for the other team to see where the ball is going to go with good hitters like that.”
Defensively, Jocie Hermiller, a senior, always seemed to be there for a big dig as the libero was credited with 18 digs.
“She is our returning senior, our libero and our captain and she does a great job in the back row for us and is best aspect of our defense that is for sure,” Newland said.
Even though it was a lopsided win for the Vikings, the Bulldogs actually looked played Leipsic tough for the first part of the match and blocked numerous Viking shots and recorded some big kills of their own and it was tied 7-7.
But Leipsic put everything together and took control of the set by outscoring the Bulldogs, 18-1 to snare the victory. After that impressive run Columbus Grove never fully recovered.
“I would almost say couldn’t hang on to our rhythm,” Columbus Grove head coach Adam Choi said. “If you look at the first half of that first set we were point to point with them and what seems to be the theme right now is we have one little mistake and cascade into a big snowball.
Choi added that he knew this young squad was going to experience growing pains. The Bulldogs have two seniors on the roster.
“The younger players are talented and they are athletic and right now what we are working on is to teach them how to keep their brain in the game when things go against them,” Choi said. “We just finished talking to them about ‘we can call time outs. We can tell you what to do, but if we don’t execute on the court, the points aren’t going to be there and that is what we saw today.”
Because Leipsic joined the Northwest Conference this year, the two teams square off again Sept. 23.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.