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Senior Jillian Jendsen is not only an effective setter, but also is a top hitter.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - Lincoln's Jillian Jendsen, middle, lines up for a hit against a pair of Cleveland blockers Sept. 16 at Lincoln High School.To the untrained eye, the happenings on a volleyball court might look more like chaos than anything else.

However, there's plenty of strategy and misdirection happening with rotations and getting girls into the right places to execute a game plan.

For Lincoln High School, there's plenty of manipulation being done to the opposition, thanks in part to senior setter Jillian Jendsen.

Not only is she the primary setter, but she's one of the Cardinals best hitters, {obj:56900:highlighted by a 12 kill night Thursday, Sept. 16, in which Lincoln swept previously unbeaten PIL foe Cleveland}.

While it requires quite a bit from Jendsen for every match and precision, the senior and her coach Shailah Ricketts knows she can get it done well.

"She's a phenomenal athlete for one, and two, she never stops, she's a go-getter and her energy is unmatched," Ricketts said. "I rely on her for a lot and so does the team. Honestly, she puts the team on her back and does it."

Ricketts also noted how the Cardinals are down two middle blockers due to injury and recently saw the return of a defensive specialist from injury.

With some depth issues already, Jendsen is being looked to even more from a younger starting lineup, a role that Jendsen has no problem fulfilling.

And she believes being a setter makes a large impact on what she's able to do as a hitter.

"As a setter, you really get to know each of your hitters to a level that no one else knows. I know everything they need and where I need to put the ball," Jendsen said. "For hitting, I can take that and apply what you know about setting and execute.

"I'll go wherever coach needs me. … If I happen to get some kills in there, that's awesome."

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - Lincoln's Jillian Jendsen (10) tries to send a hit through a pair of Cleveland blockers Sept. 16 at Lincoln High School.

Ricketts admits that having your setter getting plenty of hits in a match is unconventional.

But there's no one she'd rather have running the floor for her Cardinals squad than Jendsen.

"It's pretty unheard of for a lot of teams, so we're extremely lucky," Ricketts said. "It's been working for us, so far, and I just hope to not burn her out too much. In the past she's always been a hitter. She just really hasn't had the opportunity, so this is her year."

The win over Cleveland pushed Lincoln to 4-1 in the PIL, 4-3 overall, creating a four-team race with the likes of Grant and Wells.

Having Jendsen leading at the net, whether that's racking up assists or kills, the Cardinals feel confident they can contend with the best of them.

"We all dream of that moment, taking a really big rival and beating them 3-0, there's no feeling like it," Jendsen said. "But I don't think we can get complacent. Cleveland is going to come back hungry. … We're going to go back in the gym tomorrow and work on it all again."

Top of the charts

While Cleveland stumbled for the first time in 2021, local powerhouses Jesuit and Central Catholic continue to dominate.

Ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the latest 6A coaches poll, Jesuit No. 1 and Central Catholic No. 2, both squads have yet to drop a single set.

The Crusaders, at 8-0 are 21-0 in sets while the Rams are 5-0 and 15-0 in their sets.

For Jesuit, the tough league test comes up Thursday, Sept. 23, against Westview who's currently ranked No. 8 in the coaches poll and sits at 5-0.

All that's left for Central Catholic is the rest of its Mt. Hood league schedule, which they've already gone 5-0 in so far.

The two look to be on collision course once again for a state title, but fellow ranked squads in Bend (No. 3), West Linn (No. 4), Summit (No. 5), Oregon City (No. 6), South Salem (No. 7), Westview, Mountainside (co-No. 9) and McNary (co-No. 9) will do what they can to slow two of the state's best programs.

Austin White
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