STRYKER — Despite its best efforts in a close third set, the Stryker volleyball team (2-6) couldn’t overcome the deficit left by a sluggish start, falling to visiting Swanton (7-0) in straight sets (25-14, 25-10, 25-21) on Tuesday night.

After an early back-and-forth left the two teams tied at 7, the Bulldogs began to pull away with five straight points to earn a 12-7 advantage. After that, the Panthers scored seven of the next 12 points to pull back to within three, with Swanton holding a wobbly 17-14 lead. From there, the Bulldogs rattled off eight straight points to take the first set comfortably, 25-14.

“I think we just showed up a little bit too late to the game,” Stryker coach Alexa Moore said. “Swanton’s a good team. … We had some communication errors between the girls, but overall I think we played well and competed.”

Stryker appeared to be turning things around in the beginning of the second set. After six straight errors from Swanton, the Panthers leapt out to an early 6-0 advantage before Swanton coach Kyle Borer took a timeout. When play resumed, the momentum shifted. The Bulldogs scored the next five points, thanks in part to three Stryker errors.

After a kill by Swanton freshman Katlyn Floyd tied the set at 7, the Bulldogs won 18 of the next 21 points, leading to a dominant 25-10 second set win.

Moore said her team lost focus after Swanton’s tide-shifting timeout.

“We got a little too comfortable with the scoreboard,” she said. “We looked at that more than we were looking at our plays going on on the court. We just got a little too comfortable and let them take the momentum back.”

Despite the early two-set deficit, the Panthers clawed back and their best performance came in the third and final set. Even as Swanton won the first three points of the set, Stryker fought to win the next four. The teams see-sawed the rest of the match, as neither team scored more than five points in a row until Swanton pulled away at the very end to win in straight sets. Swanton freshman Sofie Taylor recorded two aces in the final set.

Senior Makenzie Cadwell led Stryker with eight kills. Kinsey Myers finished with two aces, eight assists and five digs. Sage Woolace led the team with six digs.

Moore saw the battle in the third set as a positive sign for the Panthers to remember going forward.

“We really came together as a team,” Moore said. “We’ve been having some issues just playing together as a team. In that last set, they really came together even though things weren’t going their way. They kept their heads up and pushed through the end.”

Paulding 3, Montpelier 0

Montpelier fell in straight sets to Paulding in a nonconference game Tuesday night by scores of 25-10, 25-22 and 25-16 and fell to 1-6 on the season. The Locomotives were paced by sophomore Ariel Page’s five blocks. Chelsea McCord, Cadey Hillard and Sonja Alvira had two kills apiece.

North Central 3,

Toledo Waite 0

North Central dominated nonconference opponent Toledo Waite on Tuesday night, sweeping the Indians in straight sets (25-5, 25-5, 25-7). Madison Brown led the Eagles with eight kills and nine assists. She also tied fellow sophomore Kendal Bonney with a game-high 11 aces.

Toledo Central Catholic 3, Bryan 0

Despite remaining in striking distance for most of the match, Bryan fell in straight sets to nonconference opponent Toledo Central Catholic on Tuesday night (25-21, 25-15, 25-21). Senior Courtney Whetro (20 assists) and sophomore Gwen Spengler (19 digs) paced the Golden Bears, while Abby Fernihough and Jess Robb added eight and six kills, respectively.

Hilltop 3, Liberty Center 1

Hilltop’s volleyball team remained undefeated on the 2019 season with a 25-18, 20-25, 25-18, 25-21 victory on the road against Liberty Center on Tuesday.

The Cadets (6-0) were led by 10 kills, 11 digs and 21-of-22 serving from Kendall Roth; seven kills and 15 digs from Taryn Grant; 12 assists and 17-of-17 serving from Arleigh VanArsdalen and nine digs and 21-of-21 serving from Hannah Riley.

Fairview 3, Antwerp 1

Fairview’s volleyball team improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Green Meadows Conference with a 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 25-17 victory on the road against Antwerp on Tuesday.

The Apaches were led by 13 kills, four blocks and 12 digs from Madison Schoenauer; four kills and three digs from Riley Mealer; two aces, seven kills and 12 digs from Kiersten Cline; 21-of-22 serving, 35 assists and nine digs from Anna Ankney; 11 kills and 14 digs from Paige Ricica and five kills and nine digs from Olivia Ricica.

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