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Norwalk stays atop SBC Lake with sweep over Clyde

By JOSH MORGRET • Sep 25, 2018 at 11:06 PM

NORWALK — The Norwalk volleyball team is not about to overlook anybody.

It has put itself in prime position to make a run at an eighth straight league title, but as always — it is one match at a time.

Norwalk came out focused on Tuesday and defeated Clyde, 25-9, 25-14, 25-19, in Sandusky Bay Conference Lake division action.

"We were looking for the girls to be focused and to stay on task," Norwalk coach Sarah Kipp said. "We have some work to do in that area."

Norwalk (9-5 overall, 6-1 SBC) consistently won points in bunches to overwhelm Clyde (3-14, 1-6). Norwalk won at least five points in a row at four different times in the match, including once in each game.

"The goal is always to string points together and to keep the momentum," Kipp said. "We did that well in the first game, but struggled with that in the second and third games."

With Game 1 tied, 2-2, Norwalk won five straight points including two big aces from Carly Bilton. A kill from Clyde's Ruby Schabel halted the run, but that only meant another run could start.

This time it was eight straight points, pushing the lead to 16-3. Olivia Ward was the catalyst in this run, as her serving consistently kept the Fliers out of sync. Norwalk pushed the lead to 24-7 and a kill from Bilton gave Norwalk the early lead.

Clyde showed its best sign of offensive life early in Game 2. After winning two straight points late in the opening game, the Fliers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and later pushed it to 5-1 after consecutive kills from Alexis Keegan.

But, Norwalk was unfazed and regrouped like all good teams do. Four straight points — including two aces from Ward — gave Norwalk a 9-7 lead it did not relinquish. Another run of five straight points pushed the Norwalk lead to 15-9. A block from Delaney Thomas and two kills from Ella Foster helped Norwalk to a 2-0 lead.

"The energy level is something we need to work on," Kipp said. "We came out excited and ready to play then kind of dropped off. We have to work on maintaining that energy level throughout."

Norwalk continued its aggressive play and hitting into Game 3. After failing behind 2-1, Mya Neuberger took serve and rattled off nine straight points. Kipp took the opportunity to get more girls in the game as the teams battled evenly over the rest of the game.

Norwalk held a 21-11 lead, but the Fliers won eight of the next nine points. Four of the eight points came on two aces from Braylin Caudill and two aces from Keegan. That forced Kipp into her only timeout of the night, but two kills from Foster and a block from Thomas ended the match.

"We have made a lot of changes, personnel-wise since the beginning of the season," Kipp said. "I think we are a different team now than we were at the beginning of the season. The girls have come a long way and continue to get better every day. That is because they work hard."

Ward led Norwalk with 29 assists, 10 digs, and seven kills. Bilton added nine kills, Claire Kelley had seven kills, and Lindsey Koenig registered 15 digs.

"I think we are seeing leaders emerge," Kipp said of her team that has no seniors on it. "It is good to see kids step up and step into those roles."

Norwalk returns home on Thursday night for another big match, as it hosts Perkins, who it defeated on the road in five games on September 4.

"We are going to come out and play Norwalk volleyball," Kipp said. "It is our senior night. We have a senior manager and Perkins has seven seniors, so we will celebrate that and go from there."

The night also served as Norwalk's Volley For A Cure. The two communities combined to raise $2,281 for cancer research.

"I want to give a big thank you to Clyde for coming in and putting together some nice gift baskets," Kipp said.

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