Molalla volleyball qualifies for Class 4A play-in game
A photo of Molalla's 1993 girls basketball state championship team hangs on the wall in the school's gym.
Lauree Nelzen, Molalla's volleyball coach, is in that photo and wants her players to get a taste of the postseason.
"I've had that experience and it shaped all of my high school memories," said Nelzen, who also played on Molalla's volleyball team that placed fourth in the state in 1991. "I want that so bad for my kids. I want my kids to get there. I want them to say they did it."
For the first time since 2001, Molalla's volleyball program will be apart of OSAA's postseason.
The Indians finished No. 17 in the final Class 4A rankings and will play at Tillamook Tuesday in a play-in game.
Molalla won 3-0 at Madras on Monday and then defeated Gladstone 3-0 Wednesday at home to finish the regular season strong.
"It's the first time since I've been here that we have a chance for the postseason," said Nelzen, who is in her fifth year as head coach." I told the girls in the locker room that this is the first time that I can walk in here and say don't turn in your uniforms, so that was a really great feeling, and I think they had that in the back of their mind. This group is hungry. They want to do things that no one has done here. It's been a long time."
Molalla honored its four seniors (Jazmin Spinney, Alyson Wilcox, Kristin Kendall and Stephanie Hall) and two exchange students (Paula Romero and Helena Eismann) before Wednesday's final home game.
While senior night can often be a distraction, the Indians came out firing on all cylinders, taking the first set 25-9 against Gladstone.
"We knew we had the possibility of the postseason if we did well tonight and I think that was a strong motivator because we haven't had postseason in a while," said Hall, who transferred to Molalla for her senior year.
Spinney was the only senior to spend all four years at Molalla.
"It was so emotional because it's my last league game here with all these lovely people," Spinney said. "I was just so full of joy throughout the entire game. We were all in it together. Everybody was united. We were just all there for each other and played as a team. I think everybody's heads were in it and we all knew what we needed to get done and we accomplished it."
The Indians won the second set 25-15 and the third 25-11 to make quick work of Gladstone.
Spinney had five kills in the match. Kendall led the Indians with seven digs. Sophomore Sydney Thompson had six kills, three aces and five digs.
"I am blessed to be able to be apart of this with this team," Spinney said. "All of us are friends on and off the court. I think that plays a really big role in it and we all trust each other."
Molalla finished 10-9 overall, doubling its win total from last season, and 5-5 in the Tri-Valley Conference.
"I've got some hungry younger kids that really want it," Nelzen said. "Some of them are younger siblings of girls who I coached and have graduated. They've seen it and have been watching it and it's their time. They're putting the pedal to the metal and getting it done."
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