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Comeback win over Gladstone, coupled with 3-0 win in battle of unbeatens versus North Marion put Indians in top spot

In a battle of unbeatens, it was the Molalla Indians who left the North Marion gym atop the Tri-Valley Conference volleyball standings.

Molalla (5-0) defeated the Huskies (3-1) in three sets in a wild one at North Marion. Coach Lauree Nelzen's squad set the tone with a nail-biter in the first set, winning 26-24. They would add wins in the next two to walk away with the conference lead.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The Molalla volleyball team now sits atop the league standings after winning the battle of unbeatens against North Marion Sept. 30.

"North Marion has a couple great hitters in Megan Netter and Jayden Sahlin, and a great setter in Mackenzie Agnew," Nelsen said. "We knew those three were the core and we had to do our best to slow them down and focus on the other players, and we did that well last night."

The Indians served at 90 percent for the match, made only five errors and recorded 11 aces.

"And aces against a great team like North Marion are hard to come by," Nelzen said. "We had focused on covering our hitters the day before in practice and the girls did a fantastic job not letting blocks go down."

As a team, Molalla hhit .194%, with four players hitting over .20% -- Lainie Mead - .353%, Asvery Guijosa .267%, Olivia Lewis .286%, and Taylor Lishka .50%.

"Lainie did an amazing job slowing down Sahlin in the middle and our setters, Lewis and Guijosa, had a fantastic game, getting our hitters amazing sets and making good choices," Nelzen said. "All-in-all the team supported each other from the floor to the bench and really stayed positive and focused. I couldn't be prouder."

Molalla 3, Gladstone 2

It took quite a comeback for the Molalla High volleyball team to push its league record to 4-0, overcoming a two-set deficit to beat Gladstone 3-2 on Sept. 28.

The Gladiators came ready to play and knocked the Indians back on their heels early on, but that simply set the stage for what was to follow.

"Gladstone came out ready to play and we struggled to get things going," coach Lauree Nelzen said. "After the second set we talked about doing the same things and getting the same results, and if we wanted different results, we have to do things differently."

That seemed to strike a note with Nelzen's players, and they stepped onto the court for the third set with a new focus and higher level of intensity.

"They came out much more focused and started going back to the basics of passing and finishing our hits," Nelzen said. "We ended up going five sets, winning the fifth by a 15-6 score. I was very proud of the girls, they didn't get really down or upset with each other, they regrouped and didn't quit. They fought to the end, gave it all they had, and hopefully learned how to work through and just grind when our game isn't going well."

Nelzen noted that earlier in the year, her squad got down two sets to Tillamook and ended up losing in five sets. This match, she noted, felt like a little redemption for that.

"We served 85% for the match, which is a bit low for us, so our focus for the next game will be more consistent serving," Nelzen said.

Molalla takes on North Marion Thursday night in a battle of the league's two unbeatens.

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