Bruins challenge, but Sheldon sweeps
|Sheldon (25, 25, 25)|
|Barlow (22, 11, 23)|
Barlow's volleyball team kept pace with Southwest Conference power Sheldon in Thursday's season opener, but was unable to slip in front of the Irish during a 25-22, 25-11, 25-23 loss.
Needing to claim the third set to stay alive, the Bruins pulled even on three occasions but Sheldon fended them off each time.
Barlow's first surge came midway through the third when setter Sammie Pemberton chased a ball to the Bruins' bench to keep it in play. Moments later, Abbey Frame put up a block in the middle to win the point. Sheldon sent its next attack long to tie the score 13-13, but Irish setter Hannah Ledgerwood pulled off a drop shot in front of a diving Bruin to maintain the lead.
Barlow made another push late in the match when Mckenna Greene served up a pair of aces, one of them clipping the tape and trickling over to the other side. Another strong serve resulted in Sheldon sending a free ball over the net, which Barlow's Jessie Matthews was able to pound home at the first opportunity to knot the score at 21.
"We were able to convert some plays, keep the ball alive and do some good things," Barlow coach Jessie Mott said.
Sheldon had the answer again, this time with Keira Vaughn pounding a kill off a Bruins' block.
Barlow put together one last effort to extend play when Violet Blatchford hit a shot that sent Sheldon's libero flying across the back row. The Irish dug the ball up, but their next attack went long. Matthews followed with a service ace to tie the score for a third time, while getting the Barlow student section into full roar.
But as they had all night, the Irish were unfazed.
Vaughn converted a tip shot to bring up match point, and teammate Anna Poole subbed into the rotation and delivered an ace to secure the sweep.
"I thought we did pretty well for our first time playing," Mott said. "Unfortunately, we didn't win, but we were able to move people around and see what worked for us."
Barlow found itself down seven points early in the first set before bouncing back and have a couple chances to even the score late. Matthews highlighted the comeback when she won a duel with Sheldon rookie Beaux Bruegman in the middle of the net.
Still, Sheldon maintained the upper hand and claimed the first set-point when Barlow was whistled for a lift.
Barlow held its only lead of the night to start the middle set when Frame came up with a kill and Grace Lam Tiang hit an ace into Sheldon's front row. The Irish rushed back to win 21 of the next 27 points to claim what ended up being the most lopsided set of the match.
Barlow plays in the Central Catholic tournament this weekend and opens the Mount Hood Conference season at home against Clackamas at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9.
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This story is slated for our Tuesday, Sept. 10, print edition.
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