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Indians handle a bit of a mystery in Corbett, then down Estacada in three to move to 3-0 in league play

Two matches into the league season, and the Molalla volleyball team sits atop the standings of the Tri-Valley Conference with a 2-0 record — tied with North Marion.

In its Sept. 21 match-up with Corbett, there were some questions that coach Lauree Nelzen and her squad had about their opponents.

"We saw Corbett at the Cascade Tournament, and I knew they were missing some kids due to an injury and other issues (quarantine)," Nelzen explained. "We beat them at Cascade in two, but again, they were missing kids. We weren't really sure what to expect, we knew Grace Merrill and Sydney Shimmel were back, and those two, especially Merrill, can pose a big threat."

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The Molalla High volleyball team is off to a 2-0 start it conference play after beating Corbett on Sept. 21.

Despite Corbett getting some reinforcement since the last time the two teams played, Molalla prevailed in four sets.

"The second set, we lost and had to really regroup as a team," Nelzen said. "We had a great serving night with 12 aces, and aces against a team like Corbett are usually few and far between. Senior outside hitter Sydney Thompson is still out due to an injury, so we moved senior setter Olivia Lewis to the outside, where she tallied 13 kills on 41 attempts. Junior Asvery Guijosa is setting a 5-1 (lineup) for the time being. Asvery really did a good job keeping her hitters in good hitting positions with consistent sets. She also had three service aces on the night."

Seniors Olivia Lewis, Lainie Mead, Taylor Lishka, and Elizabeth Winkler Yates all had a strong hitting night in the win, combining to hit .248%, which Nelzen said was a season's best.

"Our passing was solid, which helped with the consistent hitting," Nelzen said.

On Sept. 15, the Indians finished off its non-league schedule with a 3-0 loss to Scio.

"We struggled to get any kind of momentum on either side of the ball," Nelzen explained. "Fortunately, we rebounded nicely against Madras (3-0 win on Sept. 16). We had another strong serving game with 16 aces. Consistency on both sides of the ball is the name of the game right now, and we are really working hard on that."

Molalla continues league play on Sept. 23 at Estacada, then Sept. 28 with a visit from Gladstone.

Molalla 3, Estacada 0

Molalla's volleyball team extended its win streak to three matches with a 3-0 win over Estacada on Sept. 23.

The Indians have started the Tri-Valley Conference slate with three straight wins to move to the top of the standings in the season's early going. The Indians beat Estacada by scores of 25-17, 25-15, and 29-27.

"We played really well - our passing and defense really set up our offense," coach Lauree Nelzen said. "We've had better hitting nights but we worked through it. Lizzie Winkler Yates led with eight kills, Sydney Thompson, in her first game back from an injury at Tillamook, had six kills. We served tough, we blocked well, our middles Lainie Mead and Taylor Lishka did a great job of setting and executing blocks. Asvrey Guijosa did a solid job setting and her defense the last two games has been outstanding."

The Indians continue league play with a Sept. 28 visit from Gladstone, then a Sept. 30 trip to North Marion.

"They (North Marion) are undefeated in league as well. Should be a challenging week but we are looking forward to it," Nelzen said.

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