Tigard rallies to tip Wolves in thriller
TUALATIN — Momentum.
It can be a big thing — really big.
The Tualatin High School volleyball team certainly seemed to have momentum on its side early in its match with rival Tigard, and it seemed like the Timberwolves were going to ride that momentum to victory.
But, just when it looked like Tualatin was going to get to celebrate a win, something happened. Momentum changed. Tigard suddenly had momentum on its side — and the Tigers weren't about to let go of it.
Tigard, after being just one point away from defeat, rallied to get a thrilling 13-25, 15-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-13 victory over the rival Wolves in a Three Rivers League opener held Tuesday in front of a loud, enthusiast crowd at Tualatin High School.
"Momentum — it carried us. We were ready to go," Tigard sophomore middle blocker Anna Follett said after the match. "We had more talk and celebration on the court, and that turned it around for us. It was just our momentum."
"We weren't doing so hot at the beginning, but we came back," Tigard sophomore outside hitter Kaitlynn Peterson said. "There was energy that we got at the end of the third set, and we just kept it going."
With the win, Tigard got off to a 1-0 start to league play, while also improving to 2-1 on the season.
"This is pretty big," Follett said. "These are our rivals, and we're very excited to win. It was a great game. Tualatin is awesome."
"We really wanted it," Peterson said. "This was really fun — let's go."
For Tualatin, the league-opening loss game in the Wolves' first match of the season.
"I thought we were really going to take it, but Tigard came back with that win," Tualatin senior outside hitter Olivia Ashley said. "I was frustrated. I know all the girls were frustrated. It was definitely a big loss, but I know we'll come back strong in the next game."
Tualatin came out strong in the match between the rivals. Behind the serving of junior middle blocker Kylie Zralka, who had a pair of aces, and a kill by junior Kayli Depweg, the Wolves jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead in the first set. Then, with freshman setter Sophie Fast serving, Tualatin scored 10 straight points to up its lead to 19-7. Zralka had a kill and a block in that scoring streak, while sophomore Sophie Biehler added a kill and sophomore Josie Phillips had a block.
From there, Tualatin cruised to a 25-13 first-set win.
The Wolves carried their momentum into the second set. A pair of kills and an ace serve by Ashley helped Tualatin jump out to a 7-4 lead. The Wolves went on another scoring streak with Fast serving, this time scoring four straight points to up their lead to 14-7.
From there, senior Jackie Phillips had two kills, a block and an ace serve to help the Wolves closed out a 25-15 second-set win.
In the third set, Tualatin grabbed a 23-20 lead after Zralka scored on a kill off a set by Fast. The Wolves' lead was at 24-22, meaning they were just one point away from getting a three-set sweep, and the victory. But Tigard wasn't about to concede anything.
"I was scared out of my mind, but I knew we had it in us, and I believed we could win," Follett said.
"I just said, 'we have to win this game,'" Peterson said.
Tualatin was whistle for a net violation, and Tigard junior Alexa vanderSommen followed that up with back-to-back aces, giving the Tigers a 25-24 lead. A Tualatin hitting error then gave Tigard a come-from-behind 26-24 third-set win.
Tualatin tried to make amends early in the fourth set, jumping out to an 8-3 lead. But, with Peterson serving, Tigard came storming back. The Tigers would score 10 straight points, with five of those points coming on ace serves by Peterson, to take a 14-8 lead.
"Kaitlynn Peterson's serving was awesome," Follett said. "That helped us get it in the zone, and we got the momentum."
"I missed some at the beginning, so I said, 'these are going in, these are aces — that's it,'" Peterson said.
From there, a pair of kills by junior Erin Bullard, coming off sets by junior Kennedy Peery, and a kill and a block by Peterson helped the Tigers get a 25-18 fourth-set win, sending the contest to a decisive fifth set.
Tualatin went up early in the final set, played to 15 points, and grabbed a 10-7 lead following a kill by Zralka. But, following a sideout kill by Bullard, Tigard came storming back. Back-to-back kills by Peterson, a block by Follett and another kill by Peterson helped the Tigers rally to take a 13-10 lead.
Now, Tualatin rallied back. Kills by Jackie Phillips and Ashley helped the Wolves tie the set at 13-13.
Peterson followed with a sideout kill, giving Tigard a 14-13 lead with Follett serving.
"I was scared," Follett said. "I just took a deep breath and served it."
It turned out to be a match-clinching ace serve, giving Tigard the 3-2 victory.
"It was crazy," Follett said. "I was amazed."
"We won, like, 'yes.' It was pure joy," Peterson said. "We got energy, and we came out, and we told each other, 'we're winning this game. Nothing is going to hit the floor.' And everyone just played awesome at the end."
Meanwhile, the hard-fought loss left Tualatin looking to come back strong.
"We're going to have a sit down and think about how we can improve on those little things, and how we can come back as a team," Ashley said. "We were super excited tonight. Coming out here, and seeing how we came together, even those we came apart some, those bright moments made everyone smile."
Both teams will be back in action on Thursday. Tigard will host West Linn and Tualatin will travel to Lakeridge for league matches starting at 6:30 p.m.
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