By Jeremy Schneider
With postseason brackets set, the Maumee volleyball team entered its final week of the regular season knowing who it will face in the first game of next week’s sectional tournament.
It just so happened to be Napoleon, who the Panthers were hosting in their penultimate game of the season. And the Panthers sure hope next week’s game goes like Tuesday’s did.
Maumee jumped out to a huge win in the first set and cruised to a 3-0 win (25-10, 25-18, 25-18) over the Wildcats.
Setting the tone early is something Panthers coach Lindsay Vannett has been preaching to her players all season. That early lead in each set, no matter how big or small, gives them breathing room and a slight edge for error.
“It’s something we emphasized after the second set,” Vannett said. “We call it, ‘keep your foot on the gas.’ We don’t want to let up on the gas. In the third set, we took care of it.
“We can’t let what other teams are doing affect what we’re trying to accomplish. If you get down to a good team, you fight the entire night trying to come back.”
The win moved Maumee to 11-10 overall and 5-8 in the Northern Lakes League.
Senior Brynn Brown continued her impressive final season in a Maumee uniform, going for a team-high 22 kills, along with 14 assists and seven digs. It was the fourth time in five matches she’d gone over 20 kills.
Jolie Sobb had 10 digs, six kills, and a team-best four aces. Katelyn Owens added seven kills, and Avery Lewis had three.
Camy Wedge led the Panthers with 23 assists — tying her season high set against Anthony Wayne and Northview — along with five digs.
Maddie Kontak had six digs and two aces, and Kylie Miller had eight digs.
The Panthers aren’t unfamiliar with a quick turnaround to face the same opponent — they played Northview twice in five days this season. When thinking about Monday’s sectional matchup, Vannett told her team to leave nothing in the tank in Tuesday’s matchup.
“If you’re training to leave it all out there, you never get caught off guard,” Vannett said. “I say that a lot, ‘Don’t take nights off because you can’t afford to not have the reps and opportunity to continue to get better off what you’ve started to build.'”
Now comes a matchup with Perrysburg on Thursday. The Yellow Jackets won the first meeting this season 3-1.
Despite the rivalry aspect of the game, Vannett will be just happy to have played their entire regular season schedule in a wild 2020 season.
“The last regular game of a crazy 2020. To get to that point, knock on wood, being they’re healthy, you’ll take a deep breath and breathe out when that game starts,” she said.