Jamison Clouse (11) goes for a kill on Thursday. Clouse led her team in three different categories including kills, asssists and aces. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)
Jamison Clouse (11) goes for a kill on Thursday. Clouse led her team in three different categories including kills, asssists and aces. (DHI Media/ Reid Maus)

VAN WERT — After starting the season 7-0 the Van Wert Cougars faced two admirable opponents this week in the Coldwater Cavaliers and the Ottawa-Glandorf Titans— both teams were able to sweep Van Wert. The Cougars hosted the latter on Thursday, as the Titans beat Van Wert 25-17, 25-19, 25-14.

Van Wert fell behind early in the match, as the Titans ran out to a comfortable 11-4 lead thanks to their ability to stretch out the floor and hit well.

“We spread it around,” said O-G head coach Ann Ellerbrock. “A lot of people look at our outside hitters and they key on them. We did a drill this week, that if our setters sensed that [Van Wert’s] middle blockers were going to the outside, because we realize that this was were their middle blockers were going, we want to reverse it. So our middles got quite a bit of attacks today.”

After a Van Wert timeout in the first set, the Titans kept it rolling. Thanks to the attack play of sophomore hitter Maddie White and junior hitter Erica Annesser O-G pushed ahead 17-8. This forced Cougars coach Jeff Marbaugh to call his second time out of the set. This time, his team came out of the huddle ready to play.

Van Wert went on a 8-3 run to make the game interesting. A kill from Jamison Clouse and Katie Coplin each and then a flawless push from Coplin made the score 16-20. Clouse would over-hit a kill opportunity and then the Titans would rally off points and win the set 25-17.

“Our missed serves hurt us some, but our serve receive was not very good tonight,” said Marbaugh. “That was the difference in the match. We got aced too many times, or the ball got back over easy, which let them run. That’s the name of the game, you gotta be able to serve receive, and on our side you have to be able to serve.”

On the other side of the court, Ellerbrock thought Cougars serve receive was much improved.

“[Van Wert] came over for a scrimmage this summer,” said Ellerbrock. “We served very aggressive at the scrimmage because they couldn’t set up a lot of their offense at the time. Boy, their serve receive was much improved. They have potential to knock someone off if they’re not careful.”

The second set was much closer throughout the game. Neither team went on a big run until late. After being back and forth, the game was tied at 15-15. The Titans kicked in another gear, getting five of the next six points. Brianna Schimmoeller and and Annesser both got on top of the ball for a kill, while White had one of her three aces.

After an intense and long volley went the Titans way, Marbaugh called a time out, but it didn’t change the Cougars fortune. O-G finished out the set 25-19.

The third and final game started and ended just like the first one. The Titans ran out to their biggest lead of the night taking a huge 20-8 lead thank to the same things that were giving them success early in the night— aggressive hitting and great serving.

The Cougars showed life, rallying off five straight points but their efforts were too-little too-late.

“[O-G] is going to keep coming at you,” said Marbuagh about the Titans. “They got blocks, they got swings, they are going to scrap. That was the name of the game tonight, that is the battle. You serve them, so they have to pass the ball deep and they can’t be right on top of the net and crunch balls. Then we have a better chance on our side to dig balls and get some swings against them.”

Van Wert was lead by Jamison Clouse in kills (11), aces (3) and assists (9). While libero Adrianna Grothause led with 18 digs.

Van Wert won all of four games last season, even with two tough losses back-to-back the Cougars are 7-2 and 2-1 in the WBL. The Cougars will be back at it on Monday as they face Wayne Trace at home.