BY YANEEK SMITH | MIRROR SPORTS — With victories over Whitmer, Maumee and Bowling Green during the past week, the Anthony Wayne volleyball team finds itself at 4-1 and 2-0 in the Northern Lakes League.
The Lady Generals have won four matches in a row, highlighted by a 3-2 victory over Maumee on August 27.
The match saw the Panthers take the first set, 25-17. With the score tied at 10, Maumee scored 15 of the next 22 points. AW took the next two sets (25-21, 25-22) before the Panthers evened it up at two sets apiece after winning the fourth set, 25-22.
The fifth set, which the Generals won, 15-11, featured seven ties as both teams played their hearts out. With the score tied at 11, Taylor Russell, who was a force throughout the match, had a critical kill that gave AW the lead for good. (Russell had 21 kills in the match.)
In the fourth set, there were 11 ties and six lead changes. Following a kill by AW’s Lauren Curry that tied the score at 19, Maumee’s Brynn Brown executed a kill to give the Panthers the lead for good. This came after the Panthers blew a 12-7 lead and had lost their momentum.
“We lost the first set and came from behind in every set we won,” said AW coach Norm McGhee. “Our defense played well across the board. We’re getting better. Taylor had a lot of big plays.
“We just couldn’t stop Brynn Brown. If we can keep them out of system, we can keep it away from her.”
The third set saw the Lady Generals take control when the score was tied at 13. A kill by Eva McClure tied the score before AW went on a 10-4 run to take a 23-17 lead. Maumee would get no closer than four points and a kill by Russell ended the set.
The second set was another dramatic one. With the score tied at 21, McClure and Ainsley Page had back-to-back kills to help the Generals take control. The second set had 10 ties.
The first set, which had seven ties, saw the Panthers dominate following a 12-12 tie. Jolie Sobb had a key kill early in the final run as Maumee went on a 13-5 run.
“It was a great match. It was the first match between two of the top teams in the NLL. I think it will be an exciting year in our league,” said Maumee coach Lindsay Vannett.
“We know for 14 matches that it’s going to be a battle. We can’t let our failures determine how we play. (The players) are doing everything I ask. I saw a resiliency in our team.”
Vannett had high praise for Brown.
“Brynn is our most veteran player,” she said. “She knows when she needs to take over a match. She’s the coach on the floor. Brynn is one of the top players in the league.”
AW Defeats Whitmer, Bowling Green
In addition to the dramatic win over Maumee, the Generals also defeated Whitmer, 3-0, and Bowling Green, 3-0. AW defeated the Panthers, 25-10, 25-20, 25-20.
“Aside from the first set, the other sets were tight and Whitmer has shown significant improvement to me,” McGhee said. “I think Coach (Matt) Onweller has done a phenomenal job (and) his numbers are up. They gave us a good battle and we contributed with a lot of service errors. It’s always about unforced errors.”
The win over the Bobcats was much more convincing, coming by the scores of 25-9, 25-20 and 25-13.
“The BG match was just an opportunity to get some players in who don’t get a lot of playing time,” McGhee said. “I got a lot of playing time for the girls who usually sit.”