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Rangers cruise to 3-0 victory Thursday, Sept. 15; sophomore Abby Behrman again shines

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Estacada senior Lily James, middle, led the celebration after a 3-0 sweep of Madras Thursday, Sept. 15. In set two of a series against visiting Madras, an Estacada sophomore scored a thunderous point that left her teammates' mouths agape.

Abby Behrman drove home a spike, on a setup from junior teammate Libby Juker, that nearly cracked the floor as the Buffalo defense watched helplessly.

"You know it's going to be good the moment you make contact," Behrman said. "It's everything leading up — positioning, footwork, timing — so the hit is the result of that hard work."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Estacada sophomore Abby Behrman notched 9 kills in another impressive performance in her debut varsity season. It was just that kind of night for Behrman and the Rangers, who swept Madras 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-16) during a home match Thursday evening, Sept. 15.

"Winning tonight was amazing, we all have been working hard," Behrman said.

Behrman led the team with 9 kills and paced in aces; while Juker and fellow junior Emree Hunter both made plays defensively to ensure the victory.

"Libby always brings a lot of positivity, and she did a lot of things well tonight," said Coach Jordan Johnson.

That vocal leadership was key as the Rangers (4-2, 1-0 League) trotted out several new lineups and players trying out new roles, including Behrman at outside hitter for the first time this season.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The Rangers won a series in which they moved players into new roles.  "Abby is so disciplined, and is always trying to improve herself, better than she did the previous game," Johnson said.

It was a lethargic start to the contest, with both sides making mental errors and the officials stopping the run of play time and time again to confer. After some early back and forth, Estacada jumped out to a 20-13 lead. Madras threatened a comeback — something that marked all three games — but Estacada was able to hold on.

The Rangers claimed the second set thanks to some circus saves that had players diving for the ball. The most impressive came from a wild rally with Estacada sending the ball back over the net after it momentarily bounced around the rafters, pushing the lead to 21-17 and staving off another Madras run.

"Seeing those plays really pumps me up," Juker said with a laugh. "It's the adrenaline of being on the court and keeping the ball alive."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Rangers junior Emree Hunter goes low for the dig in a win against Madras.  Hunter, who played a large part in those miraculous rallies, also scored the winning ace to claim the second set.

In the final frame the Rangers led from the jump, again answering back from a late Buffalo challenge.

"We had more consistent play across the board, and several key contributors who helped secure the win," Johnson said.

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