It's tough enough going head-to-head against a traditionally successful program like Huron.
It's even worse when a top player goes down.
That's what the Lady Pirates faced Tuesday night in Huron when junior outside hitter Amber Wolfe went to the sidelines with a knee injury early in a 25-15, 25-14, 25-20 loss to the Tigers.
"She is very important to them," Huron coach Don Wood said. "I know Amber, and she's an excellent kid and excellent athlete."
Wolfe was lost for the match on the second play of the Sandusky Bay Conference showdown, and she did not return.
"That was huge," Perkins coach Beth Sage said. "I needed to prepare my team better in case of an injury. I didn't count on my leading outside go down, but we needed to be better prepared for that situation."
It took the Pirates until the third game to adjust.
"The whole flow of the game changed," Sage said. "(Wolfe) is just a huge contributor for us and a real letter.
"I think that injury was a huge factor in the outcome, but I thought Huron played a great match."
Jesse Midema led the Tigers at the net, going 34 of 42 with 23 kills and five blocks, while Taryn Graham was 14 of 18 with seven kills. Erin O'Reilly was 15 of 17 with four kills and five blocks and Devon Grendow had a team-high nine blocks.
At the service line, Kelly Lehrer was 29 of 29, Melissa Moberg was 16 of 16 and Graham was 109 of 10, while Moberg had a team-high 25 digs and Graham added 17.
Lehrer was 94 of 95 setting with 35 assists.
"The girls are really improving at a different pace than I expected," Wood said. "We still make a lot of mistakes and there is a consistency problem here and there, and they still have to get better, so don't go and put our names on any trophy.
"We probably have the toughest road schedule of any of the teams battling for the title, and haven't seen Margaretta yet. But our kids played solid."
Emily Ketterer was the Perkins leader at the net, going 25 of 31 with nine kills and nine blocks. She also was 12 of 12 serving and had 15 digs, while Jill Bahnsen was 15 of 16 at the net with five kills.
Nathalie Sabo was 13 of 15 with five blocks, Bonnie Fitzgerald was 6 of 7 with four kills and Shelbi Sullivan was 12 of 15 with four kills and five blocks.
Morgan Capucini was 9 of 9 serving while Lauren Yontz was 48 of 48 setting with 11 assists and 11 digs and Mallory Mullins was 25 of 25 setting with eight assists, 9 of 9 serving and added five digs.
"It's just been a matter of getting our kids to play team ball," Sage said. "Perkins has good athletes, they just never figured out they needed each other. Now they've figured that out."
"Beth does a very good job preparing her kids," Wood said. "I think they came in here tonight prepared, but when you lose your top players it's hard. The second time around over there is going to be a real battle."
Huron also won the jayvee match in three and the freshman in two.
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