By: Joe Blystone
SWANTON (September 25, 2023) – Swanton rebounded from a large first set deficit, then was in control the second and third sets to score a 25-21, 25-17, 25-15 straight set win over North Central.
The Eagles’ Rylee Walker scored twice on tips, once on a solo block and then on a strike from the back row to help North Central to run out to an 11-4 lead.
“We started off that first set about as slow as we could be,” explained Swanton coach Kyle Borer. “They were digging up a lot of our solid attacks.”
“Give them credit, they scrapped defensively, and we had to work to put the ball away. There were times we faltered in a long volley.”
Back-to-back Lilly McMillen aces maintained the seven-point lead at 14-7 when Swanton rallied back, mostly thanks to the serving of Lexi Faber.
Faber nailed one ace and her serves kept North Central out of system, causing the Eagles to commit six attack errors to bring the Bulldogs from seven down to a 15-14 lead.
Consecutive kills by Mackenzie Secory put the Bulldogs up 17-15 but Cailyn Meyers nailed a right side bullet to aid getting North Central even at 19-all.
Secory’s tip put the ‘Dogs on top then three straight misses by the Eagles brought up set point.
After Walker’s ace and another Meyers kill, Secory answered with the set winner from the right side.
“Our serving saved us the first set,” Borer said. “Lexi had a long run and a couple other girls went on a couple of three point streaks and kept them out of system, getting a couple of aces and that saved us.”
Maddie Smith and Peighton Manning each rattled off a pair of early second set kills to put the Bulldogs ahead early, and Swanton went up 15-10 on Smith’s third kill of the set.
Faber’s left side and Smith’s shot from the middle pushed the lead to 21-13 from which the Bulldogs traded points the rest of the way for the triumph.
Two straight aces from Lillyanna Valderas opened a 6-3 gap in the third, then Smith snapped off five kills and a duo of aces to take Swanton home the rest of the way.
“We started off better the last two sets,” Borer expressed. “Ball control was better. Even though they dug up a number of our attacks, we stayed aggressive and were able to keep hitting and score. We really didn’t change anything, we just kept being aggressive.”
Swanton d. North Central 25-21, 25-17, 25-15
North Central (3-11) – Cailyn Meyers: 8 digs, 5 kills, 7 blocks, 8 assists; Lilly McMillen: 11 digs; Ashlynn Martin: 14 digs; Anna Burt: 10 assists, 9 digs
Swanton (12-3) – Maddie Smith: 29/34 hitting, 13 kills; Samantha Nelson: 99/103 setting, 35 assists; Alexa Faber: 17 digs; Jordyn Ramirez: 17 digs, 13/15 receiving
Junior Varsity: Swanton, 25-20, 25-10
Joe can be reached at email@example.com