West Linn volleyball stays hot to sweep Lakeridge 3-0
It's been a long time since the West Linn volleyball team dropped a match in Three Rivers League play.
Indeed, the last time the Lions took an "L" came 17 matches and 702 days ago — that's one year, 11 months and one day.
West Linn wasn't interested in seeing that streak end on Thursday, Sept. 23, either, though Lakeridge gave the Lions a run for their money in the second and third sets before dropping a 25-10, 25-20, 25-18 decision at West Linn High School.
"I think we just had to refocus and come together and play as a unit (in the last two sets)," said West Linn senior outside hitter Emily Warmenhoven, who led her team unofficially with 16 kills (junior outside hitter Amyah Semau unofficially added 14 kills). "We definitely have high expectations for ourselves and we're just working our hardest to be our best."
"We definitely came out strong in the first set and took care of business," said Lion senior setter Shealyn Cecil. "The second one, we started feeling it wasn't going to go our way, but there was no panicking. We just went into business mode — it was almost 'Let's quit having as much fun for a moment and get back on track.'"
With the win — the Lions' third straight — West Linn improved to 6-0 in Three Rivers League play and 10-1 overall, while Lakeridge lost for the third time in its last four matches and fell to 3-3 in league play and 6-6 overall.
Despite the loss, the Pacers were proud of their efforts in the night's final two sets.
"I think we just worked better as a team together," said Lakeridge right side/outside hitter Maddy Massari, who led her team in kills on Thursday. "We really communicated and energy is a big thing for us, because when we have energy, we're 'on' and we were 'on' and we were just fighting."
"I think that we were working a lot better as a team, and as we got it together, when we came together as a team, we all played better personally, and I thought that was really cool," said Pacer senior middle blocker Sydney Littler, who was second in kills for Lakeridge.
That said, West Linn was tough as nails in the first set, breaking open a 12-6 game by scoring 13 of the next 17 points to pull away and win 25-10. During that stretch, West Linn senior middle blocker Rayna Reynolds connected on a free ball, scored on a block and converted two tips, while Warmenhoven added three kills.
The Pacers, however, didn't give up. After trailing 6-1 early in the second set, Lakeridge edged back within 10-7 on a West Linn error, cut West Linn's lead to 23-18 when Massari connected off the block from the right side, then made it 24-20 when senior Niyah Coleman made a kill down the right line.
The Lions, however, made sure Lakeridge got no closer, with Cecil setting Warmenhoven for a kill off the left block for the 25-20 victory and 2-0 lead in sets.
The third set was even closer most of the way, with Lakeridge ahead 8-7 on a West Linn hitting error and down just 16-14 after a serve by Lakeridge junior Sienna Wright.
But the Lions took over down the stretch, scoring nine of the match's final 13 points to pull away and win 25-18. During that run, West Linn senior Ella Norquist connected from the middle of the net, Semau scored on a stuff block, Warmenhoven made three kills in four points, and junior Addie Hoover ended the set at 25-18 with a crosscourt kill from the right side set by Cecil.
Warmenhoven said that her long familiarity with Cecil played a huge role in her success.
"Me and Shea have played together for the last four or five years in both club and high school so we've been able to work on our connection, and a lot of the other girls on the team play with her as well," she said.
For their part, the Pacers were proud of their efforts and convinced that can succeed if they work as a team.
"I just think that we need to keep working as a team, because like I've been saying, I think that's how we work best," Littler said. "Individually, we have some good players, but it doesn't work unless we're all together and fighting and energetic and have the momentum. So, I think that's what we need to do."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.