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On Oct. 19 Wilsonville beat St. Helens in three lopsided sets to secure second in the NWO league

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Sophomore Lindsey Hartford slams the ball into St. Helens side of the court in Wilsonvilles three set domination on Thursday Oct. 19. In its most dominant match of the year, the Wilsonville volleyball team smoked the visiting St. Helens Lions three sets to none with scores of 25-15, 25-5, and 25-9.

The first half of the first set was fairly competitive. St. Helens kept astride of Wilsonville all the way up until 12-12, but after that it was one way traffic. Wilsonville went on a 13-3 run to close out the first set and would not stop until the end the third. It was in the middle of that first set that Wilsonville head coach Nathan Blankenship called a timeout, and had a discussion with his team.

"Midway through the first set, when we trailed 11-12, we called a timeout and had a brief discussion about what opportunities they were giving us, and which ones we were giving them," Blankenship said. "We began to focus on taking away the opportunities we were giving them, and capitalizing on the ones that they gave us."

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Sophomore Tenley Lubisich had 11 straight serves to start the second set. Wilsonville defeated St. Helens 3-0 on Thursday, Oct. 19. And capitalize they did. After starting out the second set 1-1, the Wildcats won 11 straight points to bring their score to 12-1 on the back of sophomore Tenley Lubisich's serves. They would continue that string of momentum and win the second set 25-5, and the third 25-9.

The key to the victory against St. Helens was the varied attack that the Wildcats were able to employ, according to Blankenship.

"The setters were a real key to that match," Blankenship said. "They spread the offense, using the outsides well and balancing the attack by setting the middles effectively both through the center and right sides of the net. Our solo senior Maddy (Schmitt) had an exceptional game in this regard, and added some brilliant defense to round out a superb double-double in assists and digs."

With the win against St. Helens, the Wildcats are settled squarely in the second place spot behind Sandy. Wilsonville (12-2 in NWO play, 14-6 overall) has not lost a league match since their first meeting with Sandy on Sept. 12.

"The win clinched our second place finish in league, which positions us for a single playoff game to reach the top eight, and a berth in the championships at Liberty High School on Nov. 3 and 4," Blankenship said. "The schedule should be out shortly, and we will know who we might face in the playoff. We expect a very tough match, but will contest it with our fierce determination and a drive to reach the top eight."

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