Olentangy volleyball coach Michelle Mimna did not look on her Braves’ match against Dublin Scioto as a walk, despite the Irish’s record. Her team didn’t either.
The Irish gave the Braves fits at times, but Olentangy still controlled the match, winning a three-game, 25-16, 25-14, 25-19 Ohio Capital Conference Cardinal Division victory Thursday at Olentangy High School.
“I think we played well tonight,” Mimna said. “We had a big ‘Where are we now in the middle of the Season’ practice meeting a couple days ago because we’ve lost two huge league matches in five games, so tonight was a big night. We knew what to expect from Dublin, but this was a night about our performance.”
Olentangy (9-4, 5-4 OCC Cardinal) opened strong, getting a pair of kills and two blocks from Marta Kosmyna and a kill apiece from Sarah Arango and Morgan Reed to take a 10-3 lead in the opening game.
Scioto (1-12, 0-8) rallied back within three points, 13-10, on kills from Kelsey Esterline and McKenzie Schuster, as well as a flurry of Olentangy errors, but earned a side out on a serve error, allowing Arango to serve the Braves’ next five points with one ace to take control.
“We pride ourselves on our serving and were lucky to have such good servers,” Mimna said. “We work on our serving. We don’t want to be a team that just puts the ball over the net. We’re going to take our errors, but we want to serve very tough. We’ll give up a few serves, but we balance that in aces.”
Game two started close at the outset, with both teams collecting a pair of points, but a net violation gave a point and the serve to Olentangy, and libero Jamie Riley served the next four points with an ace.
After that, the Braves used three kills from Kosmyna, two from Kasia Walczak and one each from Allie Brown and Angela Arango to take a 19-11 lead late in the match, and after an Irish 3-1 run, the Braves closed it down with kills on four of the final five points.
“Allie has stepped up all season,” Mimna said. “She leads us in hitting percentage and kills and Kasia is certainly right behind her because she’s the stronger of the two. We want to get our middles more involved in the offense and Marta is definitely leading that charge.”
Scioto got the first word in the third game earning three of the first four points on Olentangy errors, but the Braves fought back with their strengths, getting kills from Kosmyna, Brown and Sarah Arango, plus a pair of kills from Brown to take an 8-4 lead, forcing a Scioto time out.
But the Irish clawed back later in the game, eventually closing within a point twice on a Pothoven ace and a Weissling kill before tying the game at 18 on a Brave attack error.
“They figured out they could tip to us over the left side, and Weissling swings hard,” Mimna said. “She’s a big player and knows how to bring the heat, so we knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.”
But Olentangy gathered itself and pushed the lead to 21-18, helped by a Brown kill, that forced Scioto to call its final time out. A Walczak kill and an ace from Brown upped the edge to 23-18, and after a Pfeiffer kill, two consecutive Irish errors secured the win.
Walczak and Kozmyna each finished with eight kills for the Braves while Brown finished with six kills. Sarah Arango topped the setters with 10 assists while Brown had a strong night behind the service line, going a perfect 19 for 19 with three aces.