Sandy has little trouble against a Milwaukie squad that has yet to claim a set this year

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JEFF GOODMAN - Sandys Alex Ford goes to the floor for a dig during Thursday nights four-set loss at Wilsonville. The team split their matches this week, sweeping Milwaukie earlier in the week. The Sandy volleyball team got back on the winning track with a convincing league victory Sept. 24. The Pioneers swept Milwaukie at home (25-12, 25-15, 25-22) to keep pace with the Northwest Oregon Conference’s other winners.

Sandy, perhaps encouraged by a two-set sweep over Milwaukie at the Century tournament three days earlier, opened the match with all the confidence and enthusiasm, and couldn’t miss. The Pioneers looked effortless, yet intense, in everything they did. Sandy’s setters converted passes into quality sets, and the hitters delivered kill after kill. The Mustangs had to labor just to get a finger on most hits from Sandy, and they returned almost nothing. As a result, the first game was never close.

Sandy’s dominance continued in the second set and the Mustangs were again stifled. The Pioneers built a sizeable lead once more and cruised to a 2-0 lead.

Watching the third set was like watching a completely different match. Sandy’s passing consistency lapsed slightly and the Pioneers experienced a few communication issues. On the opposite side of the net, the Mustangs suddenly looked like a legitimate threat. Milwaukie eliminated most of its errors and found a way to track down Sandy’s hits.

“The third set was closer than we would have liked, but give Milwaukie credit,” Sandy coach Chris Meyers said. “They didn't roll over and quit. That was the best they played all night.”

The different looks from both squads made for a neck-and-neck final game. The teams traded leads from start to finish and neither could pull away. Sandy would appear to take control with a few straight points, but one point by Milwaukie would be enough to turn the tides for the underdog.

Sandy finally cut off the Mustangs’ hope late in the set. After Milwaukie scored to tie the score at 21-21, Meyers called to timeout to gather his troops. The timeout calmed the Pioneers and allowed them to refocus. They came out of the huddle and scored four of the next five points to end the match.

“We made some mistakes, but the good news is that we were able to keep ourselves in a position to win and get the job done at the end,” Meyers said.

Alex Ford and Kayla Anderson each had six kills and four aces to lead the Pioneers. Anderson also led the squad with eight digs. Brooke Sherman was right there with seven digs and Ashley Laughlin had 10 assists.

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