Perhaps Defiance was still recovering from its battle with Lima Shawnee that took place on Thursday.
Maybe it was a really strong effort from Paulding. Or maybe a little of both.
Whatever it was, Defiance survived a three set battle over Paulding, winning 25-19, 25-22, 25-20.
With the win, Defiance improved to 7-2 while Paulding dropped to 4-4.
“The girls played so hard at Lima Shawnee (a 3-0 win), that I gave the girls Friday off, so they could rest,” said Defiance coach Jolene Williams. “Tonight, I definitely didn’t think it was the best that we played, but we were able to push through. We saw Paulding play this summer and we knew that (Sadie Estle) could hit the ball very hard.
“Paulding’s also a very scrappy team. We anticipated it would be an aggressive match and it was. (Coach Cheri) Estle does a nice job with those girls. (Plus), I definitely think Defiance has a target on its back when it comes to local teams like Paulding.”
Kaylee Brashear led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 kills, many of them coming at key times in the second game.
The score was knotted at 8-8 while Paulding then held leads of 10-9 and 18-17, but Brashear came up with kills each time to change the momentum of the game. In addition, with Defiance clinging to a 24-22 lead in game two, Brashear knocked down another kill to give Defiance the game two win, 25-22.
Next, in game three, with the score tied at 18-18, a Brashear kill propelled a a 5-0 run for Defiance to put the home team up, 23-18.
An Estle kill cut Defiane’s lead to 24-20, but a kill by Abby Elwood gave Defiance the game three win, 25-20, along with the match.
“I felt pretty good during the game and I’ve been working on my form a lot lately, getting a lot more kills,” Brashear said. “But as a team, we need to work more on communication. We can’t just choose when we can and when we can’t turn it off and on. We played really well at Shawnee and that’s the way we need to play all the time. Also, (setter) Jordan Davis did a good job with her setting tonight and her communication on the court is getting better every day.”
Davis finished with 31 assists, with a perfect 77-77 on setting. She also served up three aces, all in the first game and collected 14 digs. Davis’s aces helped Defiance take a 10-3 in the first game, serving up seven straight points.
Paulding, fter trailing 14-5, rallied late, to cut Defiance’s lead to 24-19. But Courtney Daeger’s kill gave Defiance a 25-19 win in game one.
In game two, with the game tied at 22-22, Williams took a gamble and brought in freshman Lilly Lacey to serve.
“We were serving inconsistently and Lilly is a good server, so I brought her in,” Williams said. “You could see the momentum shifting during her serves.”
Lacey quickly served up an ace and after two kills from Kendall Black, Defiance suddenly grabbed a 24-21 lead. Lacey had also served up three points and Defiance was in command.
In a tight game three, with the score tied at 18-18, Defiance scored five straight points to take command, 23-18. Brashear and Black came up with kills, while three hitting errors, including hitting one out of bounds, gave Defiance the five point advantage.
An Estle block and kill, sandwiched around a Defiance kills form Janelle Bryant, put Defiance up, 24-20, before Elwood ended it for Defiance with her fifth kill.
“We kind of let up at the end in games two and three, but we played the best we have all year,” said Paulding coach Cherie Estle. “To figure if we were to have a chance at winning, we needed to get everything that was hit right at the net and we were right at the door. If we play like we played tonight against a good team like Defiance, we can play with anybody.”
For Paulding, Sadie Estle led Paulding with 11 kills, while Leigha Egnor collected four kills.
Also for Defiance, Bryant had 11 kills and three aces, along with 13 kills. Black finished with six kills and seven digs, while Tori Vukadinovich had 16 digs and Ashley Tettenhorst ended her night with eight digs.
Defiance will host Kenton on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Defiance def. Paulding, 25-19, 25-22, 25-20
Paulding (4-4) — Claire Schweller 13-13 serving, 30-30 setting, 7 assists; Sadie Estle 36-37 hitting, 16 kills, 10-14 serve receive, 7 digs; Leigh Egnor 4 kills, 39-40 setting, 12 assists; Maggie Manz 7 digs; Baylee March 4-4 aces.
Defiance 7-2) — Tori Vukadinovich 5-7 serving, 5-5 setting, 19-23 serve receive, 16 digs; Ashley Tettenhorst 8-9 serve receive, 8 digs; Abby Elwood 10-12 hitting, 5 kills, 2-3 serving, 3 digs; Lilly Lacey 4-4 serving; Kaylee Brashear 24-25 hitting, 13 kills, 9-9 serving, 2-3 setting, 8-8 serve receive, 16 digs; Kendall Black 15-17 hitting, 6 kills, 13-14 serving, 5-5 setting, 7n digs; Courtney Daeger 10-15 hitting; Jordan Davis 6-7 hitting, 16-18 serving, 3 aces, 77-77 setting, 31 assists, 14 digs; Janelle Bryant 23-28 hitting, 11 kills, 8-11 serving, 3 aces, 3-3 setting, 15-17 serve receive, 13 digs.
Reserves: Defiance, 26-28, 25-23, 25-19.