Volleyball: Celina holds off Ottawa-Glandorf

CELINA — Make it two straight years for Celina.

After ending a long winless streak against Ottawa-Glandorf last year, the Bulldogs notched a 3-1 victory over Ottawa-Glandorf in a key Western Buckeye League clash Thursday.

With the win Celina improves to 6-0 in the WBL and 11-5 on the season. The Titans fall to 5-2 in league play and drop to 9-6 for the year. O-G has not had two losses in the WBL since 2011.

“We’ve got some history with these guys in the WBL,” Celina head coach Phil Bange said. “We had a big, close game there last year and we knew they would come in ready to rock and roll, but our girls are geared up. They played good volleyball on Tuesday (beating Coldwater in five sets) and we knew it was going to take everything we had tonight and the girls came through in the clutch.

Behind a strong service game. some stout defense and a tenacious team oriented offense, Celina won the first two sets by jumping out to early leads and then holding off the Titans who struggled to find some offensive consistency.

“Celina is a great team and they have some really aggressive servers,” Titan head coach Amber Miller said. “We tried to preparing for that this week but it is hard to side out when you have really aggressive serves coming at you. They are very scrappy defensively and we were trying to find ways to score but they are very strong defensively.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs did a solid job at the net and on digs to handle the hard hitting Titan spikers.

“That is something we work on every day is defense,” Bange said. “Our motto is we want to be the scrappiest team in the gym or on the court. It is a huge boost of momentum when we get the big digs. O-G has some tall players and great hitters and there were being smart with tips and we figured our defensive scheme and lot of it is defensive attitude and mentality and it is a ‘nothing hits the floor’ type of thing and we have some great back row players and they came up big tonight.”

Celina libero Allison Schwieterman and Brooklyn Bourne were a big part of that as they combined for 43 digs.In the third set, O-G corrected some of its early miscues to rally to win a thrilling third set, 28-26, and despite a strong effort by the Titans, the Bulldogs held off the determined Titans to secure the big win.

Offensively, Peyton Bertke, who had 47 assists, had plenty of capable teammates to dish to as a host of Bulldogs made kills for Celina. Bulldogs’ Ava Knapke, Bertke, Evie Holdtad and Amelia Lutz were all in on producing points for Celina.

“We are blessed to have a such good seniors who have been with the program and a lot of varsity experience,” Bange said. “They just weathered the storm. There are going to be a lot of momentum shifts in volleyball and our girls just weathered that. We have great senior leadership. But hat’s off to O-G. We might see them this weekend and hopefully get another shot at them.”

Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.