West Linn volleyball wins again, beats Lakeridge 3-0
The Lakeridge volleyball team stepped up and competed — hard — in its Thursday, Oct. 3, opener against league-leading West Linn.
But the Lions didn't get to the top of the Three Rivers League standings for nothing.
Despite playing short-handed due to injury and illness, West Linn came through big-time in the night's second and third sets to beat the Pacers 25-17, 25-10 and 25-15 in their match at Lakeridge High School.
"I think that, especially with the three people out and some of them being our main players, everyone else has had to step up and we just have to come together as a team and support each other," said West Linn sophomore outside hitter Emily Warmenhoven.
"I definitely think that (getting more experience for other varsity players) helps us grow together as a team, bond better," said West Linn sophomore setter Shealyn Cecil. "I think it will help us out later when we go to state."
With the win — the Lions' eighth straight in league and third straight overall — sixth-ranked West Linn improved to 8-0 in the TRL and 11-3 overall. No. 18 Lakeridge, meanwhile, lost for a fourth straight time in league and fell to 2-6 in TRL play and 11-6 overall.
"We were just trying to play together as a team and stay positive and keep our energy up against what we knew was a really strong team," said Lakeridge senior setter Avery Ensing.
"That's what we've been working on most of this season — we really come out strong in the first set, but then our energy (falls off) after the second set," added Lakeridge senior libero Maicy Wear.
That said, the Pacers were solid throughout the night's first set, battling to a 14-14 tie on a Kendall Baldwin kill, two West Linn errors and a spike from the left side from sophomore Ema Meier.
The Lions pushed ahead for good with Alyson Dean serving her team through a five-point run that crested at 18-14, with Audra Wilmes getting two kills and Rayna Reynolds one for the Lions.
Lakeridge edged back within 19-16 on a missed serve by the Lions, but got no closer. West Linn closed the set with a Wilmes kill, an Addie Hoover tip, two Wilmes aces and a Reynolds kill from the middle set by Cecil.
The Lions opened the second set at a sprint, however, racing out to a 6-1 lead with Warmenhoven notching two aces from the service line.
The Pacers edged back within 8-4 on kills by Baldwin and Niyah Coleman, but West Linn took off from there. The Lions scored nine of the next 11 points to extend their lead to 17-6, getting five kills from Wilmes, an ace by Cecil and another kill from Sydney Marshall along the way.
Down the stretch, Warmenhoven connected another three times, Amyah Semau went crosscourt for a kill and Lauren Knutson added an ace in their 25-10 victory.
The night's third set followed a similar arc, with the Lions pushing ahead 9-3 behind Warmenhoven and Wilmes, the Pacers holding firm thanks to a pair of Meier kills that made it 12-6, and West Linn edging away steadily from there.
The Pacers were still within 17-11 on a Baldwin ace, but the Lions posted an 8-4 edge from there to win 25-15, with Warmenhoven adding three more kills, Semau one and Wilmes finishing the contest with a block of Baldwin.
"We definitely make sure each and every one of us work our hardest in practice and always supports each other and go all out not for ourselves but for the team," Warmenhoven said.
"I think defense is going pretty well," Cecil added. "(But) I think that we need to get the energy up a little bit. It gets a little quiet on the court sometimes so if we come together and get loud then it will help us."
On their side of the court, the Pacers knew they just needed more of the good things they'd done in the first set and more consistency.
"I think we did really well this match in keeping our energy versus other matches, but we need to be stronger at that and work harder at that," Wear said. "I think it's just going to take a lot of teamwork and working together and a lot of discipline."
"This year we have different players with so many skills," Ensing added. "Everyone is strong at every position … and this year, we have a really cohesive team overall."
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