Libero Adrianna Grothause with an during the Lady Cougars sweep over the Antwerp Archers. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)
Libero Adrianna Grothause with an during the Lady Cougars sweep over the Antwerp Archers. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)

VAN WERT — A season removed from winning just four games, the Van Wert Cougars notched their 16th win of the season sweeping Antwerp, 25-23, 25-18, 26-24.

Van Wert played in WBL action last Thursday against the Bath Wildkittens and after going up two sets to none the Lady Cougars miss-hits and serving errors led to Bath getting back into the match and pushing a fifth set. The Cougars walked away with the victory, but the game served as benchmark of the mistakes that have often plagued the team over the season.

To great extent Van Wert limited those mistake on Monday as they narrowly swept the Archers.

“Before the match we talked about pushing through those let downs,” said Lady Cougar head coach Jeff Marbaugh. “We had a small let down in the third set, and we had one in the first set when we had a five or six point lead and then you let it get close. The kids know it and we are working on it.”

In the first set the points were back and forth until Van Wert went on 7-2 run that gave them a 18-11 lead. The two teams would trade point-for-point until the Cougars had the Archers backed up against the wall at 24-17. One point was all that Van Wert needed for the first set victory. That point eluded them for six points, as the Archers got white hot, but it was too late as a miss-serve game the Cougars game one.

The second set was much more calm for Van Wert as Reagan Priest and Jamison Clouse hit the Lady Cougars to a cool 25-18 victory. Noelle Heffner also collected two aces for Van Wert.

“In serving we hit some good zones, we scrapped really well at some balls,” said Marbaugh of his teams performance. “We started going quick at times, I had to remind them that we have athletes so we can be quick— we have to use that.”

The third set mirrored the first set, as it was a back-and-forth contest until the Lady Cougars took a small advantage. Then Van Wert let Antwerp hang around, and get back into the set. The score was knotted at 17 and the two teams traded blows, point-for-point until Clouse for the Lady Cougars was able to knock a pair of kills home to close out the victory.

“We executed really well in that third set late,” said the Cougars head coach. “We got two good balls to target, and Jamison put two balls away late when we had to have a kill to tie the game back up.”

The Cougars have two big WBL match-ups this week as they host Celina and travel up to Defiance on Thursday, both teams sit with either a mirror or better conference record.

“It is all about building as the night goes, and we seem to get out early and then let off and we can’t do that,” said Marbuagh. “Come tournament time we can’t do it because it makes for tight matches, just like tonight. You don’t want to let teams hang when the it is tournament time. You have a two set lead, then its 2-1 then it’s 2-2 and all the sudden you’re fighting to play tomorrow. That is what we are going to keep talking about and working on.”

Clouse and Preist led with 13 and 12 kills respectively. Noelle Heffner and Katie Coplin had 19 and 17 assists a piece. Adrianna Grothause led in digs with 25, while Clouse and Jaylyn Rickard put up two blocks a piece.