By LYLE KITTLE
With two big matches earlier in the week with Ottawa-Glandorf
and Defiance, and homecoming that evening, Celina volleyball
coach Nikki Taylor-Etzler wasn’t shocked that her team
didn’t put everything together in a morning match with
Bellefontaine on Saturday.
The Bulldogs got a quick win anyway, hammering the Chieftains
15-4, 15-8 in the varsity match, after watching the junior varsity
roll 15-6, 15-8.
While the Bulldogs had a number of serving errors, the Chieftains
struggled with serve reception throughout the match, giving
Celina the opportunities to overcome any breakdown.
“We were trying to serve aggressively,” Taylor-Etzler
said. “That’s been our goal since the start of the
year. Some of the errors came from that. This wasn’t a
good day to play because of everything else that’s been
going on this week, but a win is a win. We may not have been
very consistent, but we made the plays when we needed to make
Traci Stoner kept bringing things back on track during the match,
registering 24 assists and teaming with Lydia Fleck to pace
the backcourt defense.
Celina was never able to sustain momentum in the opening game,
scoring more than twice on just one possession behind Stoner’s
serves and the net play of Sarah Lange and Tricia VanderHorst.
The play at the net of VanderHorst, Lange and Betsy Hone - who
paced the Bulldogs with nine kills - held the Chieftains to
just four points, with three of those coming as the result of
Celina hitting errors.
“Bellefontaine’s a pretty big team,” said
Taylor-Etzler. “Our blocking at the net was one of the
things we did really well today.”
The Bulldogs were able to pull things together better in the
second game, with things working best when senior Megan Harner
was serving. That particular rotation accounted for seven of
Celina’s second game points, including the final four
tallies that sealed the win.
“The girls have been very comfortable with where each
other is on the court,” Taylor-Etzler said. ‘It’s
been a matter of knowing someone else was going to be there
to get a particular ball, and that wasn’t always there
today. We were a little inconsistent because of that. Because
of a busy week like this, I guess you have to allow for some
errors. We’ve got some big matches coming up (two WBL
tilts against Wapakoneta and St. Marys on Tuesday and Thursday),
so we need to get our concentration back.”
The Bulldogs, 15-3 on the year and 7-0 in the Western Buckeye
League, continue their quest for another WBL title on Tuesday,