Lions volleyball breaks slide, will host St. Helens Tournament
The Lions are back to their winning ways, just in time for the St. Helens Tournament.
St. Helens (7-8 overall, 6-5 Northwest Oregon Conference) broke a six-game losing streak with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 25-6) season sweep of Parkrose (2-11, 2-8) on Monday in Portland.
"I am looking forward to our team putting aside everything outside of volleyball and communicating at the best of our ability to push against the other teams and place well [at the tournament]," said Krista Gatten, a Lions senior middle blocker who spiked 10 shots and landed four aces against the Broncos.
St. Helens beat Parkrose for the 14th time in a row, but the Broncos avoided a sweep for the first time in that span.
Parkrose led 8-2 in the first set, but the Lions came back for 9-9, 21-21 and 23-23 ties as they traded missed returns after long rallies.
Izy Wallace's tip over the middle ricocheted rightward off of two Parkrose defenders, however, and into the Broncos sideline for a 25-23 win.
The second set tied 5-5, 6-6, 13-13 and 14-14 before Gatten's shot to short middle helped to build a 19-15 St. Helens lead and Kenna Reinholdt's attack from the left kept it 22-19.
Parkrose tied it 22-22 but deflected the Lions' final shot over the middle into the home crowd and the Lions won 25-22.
Set three tied 1-1, 2-2, 6-6, 8-8 and 13-13, but the Broncos led 18-13 as senior middle blocker Sinclair Ashley and senior right-sider Cristina Gavin blocked Reinholdt's shot, and pulled ahead 24-22 as St. Helens' shot sailed too far.
Abby Austin dove to save Parkrose's final serve over the middle that proved too low to return and sealed a 25-22 Broncos win.
The Lions led 6-1 and 16-4 in the fourth set as Natalee Webster fired over the middle, and Gatten blocked Gavin's shot over the middle of the net to lead 22-4.
Broncos senior middle blocker Kiara Johnson and senior setter Janell Kilborn stopped Reinholdt's shot from the left, but Gatten's reset lent Reinholdt's spike that clinched a 25-6 finisher.
Reinholdt led St. Helens with 13 kills and a pair of aces, Savannah Moore and Natalee Webster attacked for eight and seven respective kills, and Karli Cupp dealt two aces.
St. Helens was scheduled to play for another season sweep at Milwaukie and all-conference sophomore outside hitter Brynn Castro (2-11, 1-9), whom the Lions have beaten in all 15 contests since the Mustangs came down from Class 6A in 2010, on Wednesday, the results of which were unavailable at press time.
Set to visit in Saturday's tournament are Class 6A Franklin and David Douglas (featuring all-Mt. Hood Conference junior outside hitter Rylee Sneath) and Class 5A The Dalles (including all-Columbia River Conference senior middle blocker Jodi Thomasian, senior outside hitter Kathryn Bradford and junior middle blocker Bailey LeBreton) and Woodburn (starring all-Mid-Willamette senior middle blocker Devanee Ott-Parker and junior setter Susanna Matveev).
"I'm looking forward to playing teams that we haven't played before and teams that will put up a fight, giving us good competition," said Reinholdt, a senior setter.
St. Helens opens against Franklin at 8:30 a.m.
"I am hoping that we can use the homecourt advantage to propel us far into the winners' bracket," said Austin, a senior libero. "We have a new libero, [junior] Karli Cupp, who has been doing great, so I am excited to see her up against these big schools."