West Linn volleyball sweeps past Oregon City in finale
The West Linn volleyball team is on a mission, and that means there's no time for missteps.
The Lions showed that determination during their regular-season finale, sweeping past Oregon City 25-15, 25-16, 25-12 at West Linn High School on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
"We had a lot of energy and we were just excited to play, especially with Oregon City being our last game of league," said West Linn junior outside hitter Amyah Semau, who led her team with 14 kills against Oregon City. "(We need to win) these next two playoff games, then … head into state. We've been working really hard the last few practices and just keeping our stamina high and going after it."
"Winning the league title, we're super excited," said senior middle blocker Ella Nordquist. "We were very focused. We made sure to get the games done and stay focused throughout the whole (match)."
With the win — the top-ranked Lions' seventh straight (all in straight sets) — West Linn capped its Three Rivers League championship at 14-0 and improved to 23-2 overall. No. 7 Oregon City, meanwhile, lost for the third time in four matches, finished TRL play at 11-3 and saw its overall record drop to 18-7.
West Linn will open the Class 6A state playoffs when it hosts No. 32 David Douglas at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, while Oregon City will host No. 27 Lincoln at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"I think that we came in stronger than we did last time, which was good, and we had some spots where we should have done more, but I think that we played well defensively against them," said Oregon City senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Savannah Zumwalt.
"They definitely are strong all around, but I think lining up our defense for them helped and mixing it up on them (helped), because if you keep running the same thing, they are going to catch on to it," said senior outside hitter Emma Cereghino.
The Pioneers were strong early in the first set, with sophomore McKenna Brent serving her team through a three-point run that tied the score at 12-12 on a tip by sophomore Olivia Adamo.
But the Lions closed the game on a 13-3 run to win 25-15, with senior Emily Warmenhoven notching two kills and an ace, and senior Rayna Reynolds adding a kill and a block.
Likewise, Oregon City was right there with West Linn midway through the second set, trailing just 16-13 when senior Emma Pruitt connected down the line from the right side. But as they had in the first set, the Lions got hot down the stretch, getting a block and two kills from Reynolds, two aces by junior Addie Hoover and two more kills by Semau to win 25-16.
The third set was the Lions' best, with West Linn speeding out to a 9-2 lead on a five-point service run from Nordquist, then closing out the match by scoring seven of the final eight points. That stretch was highlighted by two Nordquist aces, two Semau kills and two Reynolds kills, the last a quick-hitter from the middle set by senior Shealyn Cecil for the final 25-12 margin.
"I think we all played really well, especially the seniors," Semau said. "We came in and did what we were supposed to do. I think (the key) was just high energy, not dropping down and just finishing the game when it was tight and close."
"We have a lot of fun, and we make sure to get stuff done," Nordquist said. "Everybody on this team has an important role. It's so fun to be a part of this team this year."
For their part, the Pioneers said they still believe they have what it takes for the coming state playoffs.
"(Tonight's match) shows us what the speed is going to be … and what we need to live up to to get into the (state tournament)," said junior defensive specialist/libero Samantha Keightley. "We need to be a lot faster in our reaction time, just be ready for anything."
"(The key is) us working as a team and just making sure we don't give up on ourselves because we have the potential," Cereghino added. "We just have to believe in ourselves to do it."
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