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A pair of hard-fought battles with North Marion leave Molalla at 4-4 in league play in shortened season

A pair of losses to North Marion during the week left the Molalla High volleyball team with a 4-4 league mark in its shortened season.

Molalla dropped Tuesday's match by a 3-2 score, then fell 3-0 to the Huskies on Thursday.

"Tough games this week," coach Lauree Nelzen said. "North Marion is definitely a challenge, they have a couple great hitters and a strong defense, but Tuesday we certainly gave them a good run."

"Five set matches are hard and fun at the same time, lots of touches, the game could really go either way," she added. "We stayed focused on Tuesday right up to the fifth game."

FILE PHOTO - The Molalla High volleyball team finished its shortened season with a pair of losses to North Marion during the week.

In that contest, Molalla served well (94%) and passed better than they had the previous couple of weeks, said the coach.

"So that's all good stuff," Nelzen said.

"Last night's (Thursday) game was a battle from the get-go, as expected," Nelzen said. "We came out strong each of the three sets, but just couldn't stay consistent. We would have a big run - I think at one point we were ahead 7-0 - but then they would come back and our defense just couldn't stay on top of it. The exception was our blocking - I thought we did a fantastic job of setting and executing our blocks, which we worked on a lot this last week."

Nelzen said that her front row, especially the right sides and middles, did a good job of reading the hitters and setting up for Molalla's defense to be successful.

"Olivia Lewis and Asvery Guijosa, our setters and right sides, worked hard on setting that block, and Lainie Mead and Jackie Parker, our middles, did a great job of closing in and also taking away the middle from North Marion," Nelzen said.

With the season complete, Nelzen took time to reflect on all that has gone on.

"It has been really great to see the progress my girls made in the past six weeks," she said. "They worked hard during practice and really focused on each game. Despite the shortened season with all the Covid-19 protocols, these girls worked super hard and I'm so proud of them."

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