Oak Harbor trailed by five when Athena Eli went back to serve in the second game Tuesday and led by three when she was finished in a 25-22, 25-17, 25-22 victory over Port Clinton in the Sandusky Bay Conference.
“Athena did a great job serving and Port Clinton made some mistakes to help us gain the momentum,” Rockets coach Megan McGuire said. “As soon as we got it, we ran with it.”
Cassie Brenneman, Jordyn Thorp and Hannah Waldron demonstrated leadership when the Rockets fell behind.
“Our captains told us to pick it up and keep fighting,” Rockets hitter Rebekah Rayburn said. “When you go on a run and get points like that back, it gets everybody’s mind in the game.
“We had some rough spots but it was a win. When we got down in the second game, we brought it back.”
Oak Harbor (2-0) won its first conference match Tuesday.
“Starting off strong is important for momentum,” Rayburn said. “It gets you excited to drive for more.”
Rayburn had eight kills Tuesday.
“The only thing I’m pleased with is how much Rebekah stepped up,” McGuire said. “We need her to pull through and get some kills and that’s what she did. She played a couple varsity games last year but to step up and take care of the ball (at varsity) was awesome.”
Despite the victory, McGuire wants to see improved communication and more movement on the court.
Rayburn and Port Clinton’s Marissa Day exchanged a few kills late in the third game.
“If they have a good attacker you can expect them to get kills and you have to get kills,” Rayburn said.
Eli, a sophomore defensive specialist, also had 16 digs and four aces, including two straight in the key Game 2 spurt.
“Defense is important,” Rayburn said. “When you get a good pass you can set up a kill. She’s always hustling, calling for it, cheering everybody on and keeping everybody’s head in the game.”
Freshman Ally Bloomer and sophomore Annie Quisno had consecutive block kills in the second game while Quisno added a bit of a demoralizing tip in Game 3 after Port Clinton scrambled several times to extend a long point.
Hannah Sarty played a key role as the Redskins led 13-8 in the second game.
“Hannah has always been a utility player who does a lot of things,” Redskins coach Stephanie Lepley said. “She’s stepped into a big role at setter. It’s been a few short months and she’s doing an awesome job.”
The first game Tuesday was tied at 20 while Port Clinton (0-2, 0-1) climbed within 24-22 in the third.
“The way we’ll get points is to swing at the ball aggressively as a team,” Lepley said. “Swing away and serve aggressively and you’ll see some good things come out very soon. We’re working to put together complete games.”