North Marion's postseason comes to an end
AURORA, Ore. — With a 9-1 Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) record and the tiebreaker over league rival Molalla (9-1 TVC), North Marion earned the league championship and home-court advantage in the opening round of the state playoffs.
That first-round opponent came in the form of the Sky Em League's Siuslaw Vikings, who made the long trip up to Aurora on Friday, Oct. 29. It was a hard-fought game, but in the end, North Marion was upset in three sets, falling 27-25, 25-20, and 25-14 and getting ousted from the state playoffs.
It was immediately apparent both teams brought their A games. In the first set, Siuslaw jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but the Huskies were able to even things up at 8-8. After that, both teams earned side-out after side-out, Siuslaw getting solid production up front from juniors Hailee Outlaw and Desiree Tupua, and North Marion getting kills from seniors Megan Netter, Jaydan Sahlin, and Jaedyn Bryan. The set was tied up 11 times in all, and Siuslaw battled back from being down 24-22 to win the first set 27-25.
"They came out with fire," North Marion coach Lindy Wing said. "It was really aggressive on both sides. Everybody was playing really good ball. I think on our side, we were doing really good at finding holes and being aggressive. We just couldn't get a block up on some of their good hitters like No. 6 and their outside. The first set was really good, we all came out with intensity, and I think both teams really wanted it because it was so close."
The second set was just as competitive as the first, but Siuslaw slowly pulled away from the Huskies. North Marion found itself down 6-1 but battled back to take the lead 16-15, and then again 18-17, but Siuslaw got more production from Tupua at the middle of the net, and North Marion didn't have an answer. The Vikings overtook the Huskies and won the second set on the back of an 8-2 run, 25-20.
Going into the second set, Wing told her team that the message remained the same.
"Basically, going out with intensity, and to come out wanting it in the second set," Wing said. "It was, 'Hey, get on your toes, move your feet, get up, we have to put a block up, have the same energy, talk with each other more.' But again, I think the second set mentally we were not prepared. I think they were throwing in some pretty good hitters and a really good offense against us, and we just crumbled. We weren't ready for it."
North Marion had its best start yet in the third and final set, establishing a 5-4 lead. It wouldn't last. Siuslaw dominated, going on a 12-3 run to take a 16-8 lead. North Marion, to its credit, didn't give up and cut the deficit to just four. It was too little too late, and Siuslaw completed the three-set sweep with a 25-14 score.
North Marion (9-1 TVC, 12-7) finished its season with the team's first league championship since 2018 and 7-2 over its last nine games. It had been a long while before that 2018 title, making the season a little more special for Wing and her players.
"It just means the girls worked hard and earned it," Wing said. "Obviously, it's an honor for me to be their coach because they more than deserve it. For me, it's very special because even though it was in 2018, it hadn't been since 1990 before that. That's a big gap, and it means a lot to me. This is my hometown, and so coming back and coaching and seeing what these girls are made of and can do and accomplish, it was an awesome feeling."
Siuslaw (15-8) will move into the quarterfinals to face off against Sisters (20-3) on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
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