One of the toughest weeks on the schedule for the Galion volleyball program ended in frustrating fashion on Saturday for the Tigers.
After losing a five-set heartbreaker to Pleasant on Tuesday, Galion ended up on the short end of a sweep at the hands of 2014 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference co-champion Jonathan Alder. The final count saw the Pioneers prevail, 25-16, 25-14, 25-18, and left the Tigers winless in league play.
“I knew when I looked at the schedule and I had those two right off the bat, it was going to be a rough way through the first couple of games of the MOAC,” said Galion head coach Jaime Valentine. “They have to rebound. Unfortunately, I had a lot of lack of effort that I was disappointed in. We’ll see how they rebound.”
Jonathan Alder (8-0, 2-0 MOAC), which has only lost two sets through eight matches this season, was dominant both on the attack and on serve. Karlee Reynolds pounded down 13 kills and Alexa Hasting added 12. The Pioneers recorded 12 service aces, led by Julie Jaske with four. Hasting added three aces. Reynolds and Jaquelyn Chapman recorded two apiece and Natalie Regula had one ace.
Regula led the Pioneers with 34 assists. Hasting and McKenna Hostetler had 13 digs each. Jaske finished with 10 digs and Regula added nine.
Pioneers head coach Taryn Fuller said picking up the win at Galion is key to Alder’s quest to win another MOAC title. She said her ballclub was clearly focused on this match after splitting the season series with the Tigers in 2014.
“I think the girls remember the first game against Galion last year when we played them at home,” she said. “They really got us. They took control of the game early and had control of the game the entire time, so we had to kind of keep that in the back of our minds, that they’re great competition and we want the league championship.”
Taylor Valentine led Galion (2-2, 0-2 MOAC) with 16 kills and 15 digs. Marisa Gwinner had seven kills and three blocks. Chloe McCleese recorded five kills. Ashley Flowers and Callie Wildenthaler had seven digs each. Kiki Staton finished with six. Bradlee Saterfield had 16 assists and four digs.
Valentine said the Tigers’ inability to slow down Alder’s attack and an overall sluggish performance combined to keep Galion chasing the score the entire match.
“The defensive game we played versus Pleasant and what we played today, it’s like night and day,” Valentine said. “Granted, it’s a lack of experience from some of the younger kids, but they have to understand that every single night they have to come with their ‘A’ game. They have to come ready to play. I was just disappointed in the lack of teamwork today.”
Fuller said her squad has benefited from a tough early portion of the schedule that included three matches in the Spike Off Invitational at Marysville High School.
“I think that kind of pushed us a little bit, pushed our boundaries, and it’s helped us with our league play so far,” Fuller noted. “We’ve really done a good job of diversifying our offense and getting everyone involved. Our defense has played very solid and our serving has really helped us when we need it.”
Galion plays three matches this week. The Tigers play host to River Valley in MOAC action Tuesday, then travel to Fairbanks on Thursday and head to Shelby on Saturday.
Jonathan Alder plays home matches against Buckeye Valley on Tuesday and Marion Harding on Thursday.
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.