The Wapakoneta Redskins may not have played very well Thursday, but they played well enough to escape with home sweep against the Elida Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs committed 30 unforced errors in the 3-0 sweep which saw the Redskins win 25-21, 25-23 and 25-17 in varsity volleyball action.
“Some nights you have it and some nights you don’t and tonight we struggled horribly,” Redskins varsity head coach Keith Rambin said. “(Elida) helped us out with unforced errors and I think in that third match it was 10-1 and I don’t think we scored one single point. We certainly did not look like we did on Monday night.”
In the season opener on Monday, the Redskins swept the Sidney Yellow Jackets in three sets 25-14, 25-15, 25-18, in a game that was encouraging to Rambin. With Thursday’s win, the Redskins stand at 2-0 on the season.
Rambin said Thursday he understands there will be matches like this, but with a daunting Western Buckeye League schedule ahead he knows his squad needs to bring their best, something he saw Monday but was absent on Thursday.
“We really struggled with passing the ball, we struggled with serving the ball, we struggled with hitting the ball, but we have a good group of seniors and we hung in there and kept fighting,” Rambin said. “There are some nights you come out and play well and there are some nights that things just don’t go your way and we could not get things going. It seemed like an uphill battle all night long.”
Elida varsity head coach Kevin King explain his team’s struggles are due in part because his squad is so young with three freshmen and one senior on the team.
“I have a lot of inexperience on the court and we recorded 30 hitting errors and that was largely due to our inexperience,” King said. “We have had a couple games already, but they haven’t been WBL games and they haven’t been this intense. But they were down 11-3, 10-1 and they didn’t quit.”
He also realized this was an off night for Wapak, but if they bring their best every night they have the potential to be competitive in the Western Buckeye League.
“They have experience, they a couple of young players, too, but they have good experience in the libero Amber Dickerson and a couple other seniors like Nicole Brown, Ashlie Cox and Sierra Sammons. I look for Wapak to be one of the tougher teams in the WBL.”
On Thursday, the Redskins found Elida to be tough. Wapak won the first two games in tense, thrilling fashion. The third game the Redskins built a 9-0 lead which grew to 10-1 before the Bulldogs battled back. While Wapak would eventually grow their lead to 17-3, Elida chipped away closing to 22-16 before the Redskins shut the rally down for the win.
In the first game, the Redskins built on their win in Sidney taking a 6-2 lead, but they watched Elida steal the momentum and the lead, 12-8.
Rambin called a timeout and rallied the Redskins. He didn’t address any specific area of his players’ game.
The Redskins responded and took a 14-12 lead before the game became a see-saw affair of points with Wapak prevailing 25-21.
Unlike the first game, the Redskins fell behind early, trailing 10-6 when they took control the court to tie the score at 14. A 13-6 run helped them grab a 20-15 lead, but they could not shake Elida who trailed 24-23 and the serve. The serve then went sailing into the net and gave Wapak the win.
“Elida didn’t quit tonight, but there isn’t anybody in the WBL who is going to roll over for you,” Rambin said. “That is what I told our girls, ‘There isn’t anybody so bad in our league that if we just show up and go through the motions that we can expect to walk out with an easy victory.”
A bright spot for the Redskins during Thursday’s action was senior setter Nicole Brown, who had 18 assists and four aces on the night.
“She had to work hard because she was chasing ball everywhere,” Rambin said of Brown’s play.
Senior libero Amber Dickerson also played well with 18 digs and three aces, while senior outside hitter Megan Hayzlett had 10 kills.