Molalla opened their league play with a 3-0 win against the Gladstone Gladiators on Thursday, Sept. 19. Early in the first set, Katelin Satyna and Haley Thrower attacked hard, and Ashley Alexander made saves in the back CORY MIMMS - Natalie Hobgood goes for the attack in Molalla's first league game of the season.

Molalla jumped to a 7-3 lead. Ashley Johnson, Janelle Ferland and Satyna powered spikes into the Gladiators’ court, and by the first timeout the score was 19-7.

They came back after the timeout and took a clean, quick 25-10 win.

Set two was harder won. Helen Daniels got Molalla’s first point with a precision spike. Natalie Hobgood dove for several saves, and Satyna stayed on the attack.

Gladstone kept up though. The score was 9-9 as Molalla’s fans entered a chant-off with Gladstone’s fans. Despite the energy in the stands, the game stayed close.

Gladstone’s defense picked up their game, and Molalla’s attacks weren’t as accurate. The Indians got the lead 15-12, but the Gladiators matched them, closing the spread to 15-14.

Then Ferlan came out of nowhere and smashed through Gladstone’s defense. She took three quick points in a row.

Then the Gladiators pushed back, and for close to a minute the ball volleyed back and forth, both teams fighting for the point. Spike after spike was blocked or saved until finally Molalla sent the ball out of bounds on Gladstone’s court.

Hobgood got the 21st point off a good spike, and Molalla picked up two points from Gladstone errors. Then Johnson sent the ball mowing through Gladiator hands at the net, taking the score to 24-19. The set ended 25-22 when Gladstone sent the ball out of bounds.

Set three opened close, but the Indians regained the precision they showed in the first set.

It was 9-3 at the first timeout. In the huddle, the stability and coaching consistency Carol Grauer brings to the team showed, as the whole team was smiling and joking with each other. They knew they had the win.

They came back on the court coordinated and on target. By the second timeout the score was 17-7. The Indians took that to a well-earned 24-10 spread. Gladstone made Molalla work for the last point though. Spikes from Johnson and Satyna were blocked and returned.

Then Ferlan slammed the ball down, ending the set 25-10 and the game 3-0.

The Indians play next in La Salle, on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

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