Oregon City volleyball edges past Westview 3-1
Two of the state's best teams with two solid records and a second-round Class 6A state playoff match as the stage for the contest.
The Saturday, Oct. 30, volleyball match between Oregon City and Westview had all that and more, with the Wildcats forcing a fourth set before the Pioneers finally pulled away to win 26-24, 25-23, 24-26, 25-13 at Oregon City High School.
"We just knew we had a lot of opportunities finish it in the third set and we didn't do it so we took every opportunity in the fourth set to do that," said Oregon City senior outside hitter Emma Pruitt.
"It was so much fun to play," said freshman outside hitter Paige Thies, who ended the match with a kill from the left side in the fourth set. "The first three sets were really close, but in the end, we were pushing through really good."
With the win — the team's second straight and third in its last four matches — seventh-ranked Oregon City improved to 20-7 overall after finishing second in the Three Rivers League. No. 10 Westview, meanwhile, saw its two-match winning streak snapped and ended its year at 22-6 after finishing second in the Metro League.
"I think we just practice to keep fighting until we hit the last point," said Westview junior outside hitter Alize Bakker. "We just had to keep working together, playing together, coming to the middle and talking and … just keep pushing until the game is over and believe in it."
"I feel like we just really needed to work together and have a lot of energy," said sophomore setter/right side hitter Taylor Guerra. "That's what it took to get those points and fight."
The night's first three sets all featured razor-thin margins, with the Wildcats forcing a 24-24 tie — that on a left-side kill by junior Kaytlyn Lebeck — before the Pioneers took the first set 26-24 on a tip by sophomore Olivia Adamo and a kill from senior Dimitra Protopapas.
The second set featured more of the same, with Westview dead-even at 23-23 on a tip from the middle by junior Halle Garrity before OC sophomore Brooke Williams notched a kill from the middle of the net and teamed with Thies to block Westview senior Ellie Carrier for the 25-23 win and a 2-0 lead in sets.
There was more excitement to come in the third set, with Westview rallying from a 23-19 deficit to win 26-24 thanks to a Garrity block, an ace from junior Daphne Bakker and four Oregon City errors.
Suitably awakened, the Pioneers stomped on the accelerator in the fourth set and raced out to a 14-5 lead behind four Thies kills and two each by Protopapas and Adamo. They then boosted that edge to 24-9 on a kill by senior Emma Cereghino set by sophomore McKenna Brent.
The Wildcats tried to stay alive with four late points — on two Alize Bakker kills and a block by junior Riley Hackett — before Thies connected from the left side for the 25-13 victory.
"I feel like we were both amazing teams, it was just whoever came through at the end to get the last points," Thies said. "I feel like our setting and our serve receive were really pulling through in the last set."
On their side of the net, the Wildcats knew they were still alive until the very end.
"I've played for so long that I know that a game can go either way," Alize Bakker said. "No matter the score, it can always finish a different way than you expect."
Next up, the Pioneers play at No. 2 Bend at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
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