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Tigers rally to win playoff thriller


Tigard upsets West Salem before falling to Clackamas

by: DAN BROOD - SETTING IT -- Tigard freshman setter Hannah Miller puts the ball in the air during the Tigers' state playoff win at West Salem.SALEM — The Tigard High School volleyball team got off to a sluggish, stumbling start in its state playoff match against West Salem.

But the Tigers’ finish was simply amazing.

Tigard, after falling 25-13, 25-14 to the Titans in the first two sets of the match, came roaring back to win the final three sets 25-14, 25-23, 15-12 to score an improbable 3-2 victory in the OSAA Class 6A state playoff first-round match played Oct. 30 at West Salem High School.

“That was crazy,” Tigard senior middle blocker Michelle Simmons. “This was one of the most exciting games I’ve been a part of. We started off rocky, but then we started playing our game.”

“We just really wanted it,” Tigard junior outside hitter Kaylie Boschma said. “We pushed and fought for it.”

“This is a huge thing for us,” Tigard senior outside hitter Lindsey Rosette said. “This was so much fun. It was just amazing.”by: DAN BROOD - SMACK -- Tigard sophomore Cassie Erickson hits the ball over the net in last week's playoff match at West Salem.

West Salem, the No. 2 team out of the Central Valley Conference and the No. 10 team in the final OSAA power rankings, finished its season with a final overall mark of 14-9. Tigard, the No. 3 team out of the Pacific Conference and the No. 23 team in the OSAA power rankings, improved to 11-8 on the season at that point.

“No. 23 beating No. 10, that’s pretty good,” Tigard coach Rob Coelho said. “It was a total gutsy effort by the kids. They gave themselves a chance and they never quit. I’m proud of them for fighting like they did.”

Still, the Tigers didn’t get off to a very promising start to the match. Plagued by a number of net violations and some other miscues, Tigard watched West Salem, led by freshman outside hitter Paige Whipple and senior outside hitter Kayleigh Paslay, storm to decisive wins in the first two sets of the match.

But Tigard turned things around in a big way, starting in the third set.

With the score tied at 8-8, the Tigers took the lead on a kill by Boschma, and they took off from there. A block by Rosette and a point coming off a dig by junior Emilee Heyden gave Tigard an 11-8 lead.

With sophomore libero Jenna Horton serving, the Tigers then began to pull away. An ace serve by Horton, a kill by Rosette off a set by freshman Hannah Miller, a block by Simmons and another kill by Rosette gave Tigard an 18-9 lead.

Holding a 22-14 advantage, and with Miller serving, the Tigers put the set away. A kill by Simmons, an ace by Miller and another Simmons kill wrapped up the 25-14 third-set win.

“That was a big shift of momentum,” Simmons said. “We felt like we had it in our grasp.”

by: DAN BROOD - ABOVE THE NET -- Tigard senior Michelle Simmons (right) goes up for a block during the Tigers' state playoff victory at West Salem.“Momentum is everything,” Boschma said.

West Salem, trying to get momentum back on its side, jumped out to leads of 9-6 and 18-14 in the fourth game. But Tigard again came storming back.

With Simmons serving, the Tigers got a kill by junior middle blocker Sasha Hershey, a kill by sophomore outside hitter Cassie Erickson, an ace serve and a block by Hershey to take a 19-18 lead.

West Salem, getting blocks by junior Maddie Folz and Whipple, reclaimed the lead at 21-19. But the persistent Tigers wouldn’t back down.

A kill by Boschma off a Miller set and back-to-back kills by Rosette gave Tigers a 22-21 advantage. Another kill by Rosette and another block by Hershey gave Tigard a 24-22 lead. West Salem cut the margin to 24-23 on a kill by junior Sydnie McLaughlin, but a Titan hitting error gave Tigard a 25-23 fourth-set win, sending the match to a fifth set.

Tigard, with momentum now clearly on its side, took charge early in the decisive fifth set.

Back-to-back kills by Simmons gave the Tigers a quick 3-1 lead. An ace by Miller and a block by Simmons helped push the margin to 7-2. A tip by Boschma off a Miller set gave Tigard a 9-4 advantage.

West Salem battled back to cut the lead to 10-8, but Tigard answered the Titan rally.

A one-handed block by Hershey, a kill by Rosette and an ace serve by Boschma gave Tigard a 13-8 lead.

West Salem scored the next three points to make the score 13-11, but Tigard, getting a powerhouse kill by Rosette off a set by Miller, took a 14-11 lead. Then, with the score 14-12, a West Salem hitting error, with the ball going into the net, gave Tigard a 15-12 win, igniting the Tigers’ victory celebration.

“It was the greatest feeling,” Boschma said. “It was like ‘yes!’ We were so happy. It was crazy.”

“This was so much fun — playing with an amazing team,” Rosette said.

by: DAN BROOD - WE DID IT -- Members of the Tigard High School volleyball team celebrates following their win at West Salem. “We’re like a family,” Boschma said. “We’re so close.”

“It took a lot of effort and a lot of rallies,” Simmons said. “It was just a great experience to win here and pick up where we left off.”

“Michelle played great,” Coelho said. “They couldn’t stop her tonight.”

With the victory, Tigard advanced to play at Clackamas in a state playoff second-round match.

Clackamas, the Three Rivers League co-champion and the No. 7 team in the OSAA power rankings, came away with a 25-12, 25-14, 25-19 win over the Tigers in the match played Friday at Clackamas High School.

With the win, the Cavaliers moved to 17-9 on the season advanced to play in the OSAA Class 6A state tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Liberty High School.

The loss at Clackamas marked the final high school match for Tigard seniors Rosette, McKinley Smith, Simmons and Kelcy Mullaly.