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The Lady Bowmen come back to get a five-set victory in the Class 6A state playoff contest

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - The Sherwood High School volleyball team starts celebrating following the final point of their five-set victory over Clackamas in the Oct. 30 first-round state playoff match.CLACKAMAS — It wasn't the most promising start for the Sherwood High School volleyball team as it opened the state playoffs.

But, the Lady Bowmen more than made up for that with a fantastic finish.

Sherwood, after dropping the first two sets to Clackamas, came roaring back in a big way to get a 24-26, 13-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-9 win over the Cavaliers in a Class 6A state playoff first-round match played Wednesday at Clackamas High School.

"That was insane," Sherwood senior setter Allison Fiarito said after the match. "It was stressful, but we're good."

"This is huge," Sherwood senior outside hitter Alli Douglass said. "We've been working all season for this, and, we came out tonight and really fought hard. Yeah, this is really big."

With the loss, Clackamas, the No. 2 team out of the Mt. Hood Conference, and the No. 14 in the final OSAA power rankings, finished its season with a final overall record of 18-10. Sherwood, the No. 3 team out of the Pacific Conference, and the No. 19 team in the power rankings, improved to 15-8 on the season. The Lady Bowmen, who were the only road team to get a victory in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs, will move on to play Mountainside in a state playoff second-round match, set to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, at Mountainside High School.

"We were so excited, because we worked so hard throughout the season, and it finally paid off," Douglass said. "And we're excited to play Mountainside. Nothing to lose."

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School senior Alli Douglass (right) smacks the ball over the net during the Lady Bowmen's state playoff win at Clackamas on Oct. 30PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School senior Allison Fiarito (2) sets the ball during the Lady Bowmen's five-set win at Clackamas in the Oct. 30 state playoff first-round match."This is pretty big. We've been waiting for this for years," Fiarito said. "We've got 10 seniors, and we're all super close friends. So, this was our time to do really well."

But things certainly didn't start that way for the Lady Bowmen.

Clackamas fought off Sherwood in the first set to get a 26-24 victory. In the second set, the Cavaliers, behind the play of senior Isabelle Combs, freshman Kalista Lukovich and senior Lauren Livingstone, stormed to a 25-13 victory, putting the home team just one set away from advancing.

"We were thinking, 'it's over,'" Fiarito said with a laugh. "But, honestly, a lot of it (coming back) came from the whole team, all of us really wanting to win."

"We kind of got down on ourselves, especially in the second set, but we came together in our team huddle before the third set and said, 'hey, we're going to win this, we're going to go out fighting, we have nothing to lose,'" Douglass said. "And we came out swinging and passing really well, and we ended up winning — just barely."

Clackamas jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in the third set, but Sherwood fought back to tie the score, at 4-4, on a kill by Douglass. Sherwood would take its first lead of the set, at 10-9, on a point on serve by sophomore Emma Wagner, but the Lady Bowmen still had a battle ahead of them.

Clackamas would open an 18-15 lead on a kill by Livingstone. But Sherwood would come back to take a 20-19 lead on a sideout kill by Douglass. Then, with sophomore Alyssa Kapuniai-Ryan serving, the Lady Bowmen would score four more points to take a 24-19 lead. Clackamas would close the gap to 24-22, but an errant Cavalier serve gave Sherwood a 25-22 third-set victory.

"Honestly, at the end of the third set, I was thinking, 'we can do this,'" Fiarito said. "We're playing to play Mountainside on Saturday."

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School players (from left) Julia Leitzinger, Emma Wagner and Alli Douglass celebrate during the fifth set of the Lady Bowmen's playoff win at Clackamas.PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School senior Evan Parent Korsness (12) hits the ball past a pair of Clackamas blockers during the Lady Bowmen's state playoff win on Oct. 30.The Lady Bowmen seemed to carry their momentum into the third set. With Kapuniai-Ryan serving, Sherwood scored the first four points of the set. Clackamas would battle back to take a 9-7 lead, but the determined Lady Bowmen wouldn't be denied.

Following a sideout kill by Sherwood senior Claire McGill, coming off a set by Kapuniai-Ryan, the Lady Bowmen took off. With Fiarito serving, Sherwood got a kill by senior Evan Parent Korsness, coming off a set by Fiarito, a block by senior Josie Wilson and a block by Parent Korsness to take an 11-9 lead. From there, strong serving by senior libero Piper Harrop and Kapuniai-Ryan helped Sherwood push the lead to 18-15. After that, kills by McGill, Wilson and Douglass helped the Lady Bowmen wrap up a 25-22 fourth-set victory, tying the match at two sets apiece.

"After the fourth set, when we got super-hyped, cheering each other on, I knew we could take it," Douglass said.

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - There were plenty of tense moments during the Sherwood High School volleyball team's five-set state playoff win at Clackamas on Oct. 30.PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School senior Natalie Kapuniai-Ryan (right) goes up for a kill during the Lady Bowmen's state playoff win at Clackamas on Oct. 30.Sherwood grabbed a 3-1 lead in the decisive fifth set on a kill by Parent Korsness, coming off a set by Fiarito. Clackamas rallied to take a 6-5 lead on a kill by Lukovich, but Sherwood answered with a kill by Douglass to tie the score.

The score was tied at 7-7, after Sherwood got a back-row kill by Harrop, and the Lady Bowmen took off after that. The Lady Bowmen, with Douglass serving, got a kills by McGill and senior Julia Leitzinger on their way to opening up a 13-7 advantage.

Clackamas, still fighting, cut the lead to 13-9. But a violation on the Cavaliers gave Sherwood a sideout, and a 14-9 lead. Clackamas then couldn't get a return on a serve by Wagner, giving the Lady Bowmen a 15-9 fifth-set win, and the playoff victory.

"This was so fun, it was such a good win," Fiarito said. "And, it's nice that we have everyone healthy and ready to play. It's really great."

"This was so fun, so extremely fun," Douglass said with a smile.

Mountainside, the No. 2 team out of the Metro League, and the No. 3 team in the OSAA power rankings, brings an overall record of 21-6 into Saturday's second-round playoff match-up. The teams met already, early in the season, with the Mavericks getting a 25-19, 25-15, 25-9 win over Sherwood in a match played Sept. 3 at Mountainside High School.

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School senior Julia Leitzinger (right) goes up for a kill during the Lady Bowmen's five-set state playoff win at Clackamas on Oct. 30.PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - The Sherwood High School volleyball team starts celebrating following the team's five-set state playoff win at Clackamas on Oct. 30.The winner of Saturday's match at Mountainside will advance to the Class 6A state tournament, and will face either Canby or Sprague in a tourney quarterfinal match to start at 10 a.m. on Nov. 8 at Liberty High School.


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