ANTWERP – To those in the volleyball world the Van Wert verses Antwerp battle played Monday night would be billed as an instant classic. The non conference match-up featured a Cougar team with size and powerful hitting from the Western Buckeye League against a scrappy, never-say-die Archer program from the Green Meadows Conference. When the dust settled following the five set marathon it was the Archers prevailing 22-25, 25-27, 25-10, 25-14, 16-14.

After dropping the first two sets, the Archers found away to regain the momentum and outplay the Cougars in the final three. That momentum shift came in the third set when the Cougars were on top 10-6 and looking to put away the Archers. Antwerp battled back to trail by just two 10-8 when Antwerp sophomore Lydia Brewer stepped up at the serving position and guided the Archers to 17 consecutive points to keep the Archer hopes alive with a 25-10 win.

"We got off to a good start but you have to sustain what you do. Tonight it was going our way and then in the third set the excitement builds and the momentum went their way when they went 19-0 on us," said Van Wert Head Coach Jeff Marbaugh.

The Cougars fall to 8-12 overall and were led by the play of Jamison Clouse who recorded 36 digs and 18 kills in a solid performance. Jaylyn Rickard added 33 digs and eight kills while team mate Isabell Carr added 36 digs and Kathryn Coplin coming up with 23 assists.

"We were down and we knew we had to push through. We didn't want to lose and in my opinion I thought we played our best match tonight. Our front line really protected us and it was a great team win against a Division II opponent. This win should give us momentum for the tournament," said Lydia Brewer.

The fourth set saw the Archers continue to play aggressively as they took an early 10-5 advantage and forcing Van Wert Head Coach Jeff Marbaugh to call time out. The five point Archer lead dwindled to three but the Cougars would get no closer. With the Archers leading 20-13 both Faith Nestleroad and Heather Oberlin recorded key hits to put the set out of reach at 22-13. The 11-point Archer win would force a fifth and final set to determine who would walk out of the Archer gym owners of a hard fought battle.

"Once they took the third set we kind of faded a bit and appeared to play scared. We had too many hitting errors and didn't stay aggressive. Antwerp cranked up their defense and kept the ball in play and used their energy and momentum to outplay us after we took the first two sets," said Marbaugh.

Playing to a score of 15 in the fifth a deciding set the Cougars would take an early lead on the play of Clouse who recorded three kills in the early going to put Van Wert in control 5-2 and a Antwerp time out. With the score knotted at 5-5 Antwerp's Alyssa Fuller seemed to rule the outside of the front row and came up with two kills and two hits near the side that Van Wert failed to return allowing the Archers to move ahead 10-7.

Van Wert got a much needed point from Rickard who laid down an ace to knot the score at 12 a piece but a Nestleroad kill followed by a Cougar service error gave the match to the Archers.

"Wow. In all my years of coaching I can only remember this happening once, maybe twice. This just doesn't happen often," said Antwerp Head Coach Paul Stoll, referring to the three set win after dropping the first two.

Stoll went on to say, "It was all about momentum. After the serving display Brewer put on in the third set we turned things around and played great defense. Everyone played well. It's hard to single anyone out but I will say that Grace Schuette, only a sophomore played tremendous," Stoll concluded.

It appeared the visiting Cougars would salt the victory away in the early going. In the first set Van Wert kept a slim lead before moving ahead with its largest margin at 19-15. Antwerp managed to get back in it with a 5-0 run that allowed them to take a one-point lead at 21-19 and forcing a Cougar timeout. Van Wert would respond with the serving of Jaylyn Rickard who kept the Archers from returning the ball and propelling the Cougars to the 25-22 win.

Much like the first set Van Wert kept the lead and the pressure on the Archers with the play of Jamison Clouse who seemed to own the net with her height as well as her powerful digs. Late in the game Van Wert was in control 21-16 when Antwerp called a time out. The Archers made things interesting when they erased their deficit to take the lead briefly at 22-21 on a Heather Oberlin block. Van Wert would again finish strong with winning the last three points after trailing 25-24.

Antwerp, winners of eight of their last 10 moves their record to 12-6. The Archers were led by the serving of Brewer who finished with 31-32 along with five aces. Fuller finished with 38 digs and Karsyn Brumett added 48 assists.