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After sweeping St. Mary's on the volleyball court, the West Linn seniors enjoyed a special treat from their teammates.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - From left to right, West Linn seniors Ruby Michelin, Olivia Trobetsky, Taylor Bell, Amyah Semau and Addie Hoover take in the postgame show put on by the underclassmen to celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at West Linn High School.

For five West Linn seniors, any postgame tears on Tuesday night were strictly the joyous kind.

After beating back the Blues of St. Mary's Academy 3-0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-17) in the regular-season finale on Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Lions had clinched a second-place finish in the Three Rivers League. That placement guarantees West Linn (16-9, 9-3 Three Rivers) a trip to the playoffs, where the team will try to defend its state championship crown from last season. Two of the team's seniors, Amyah Semau and Addie Hoover, led the way with Semau delivering 24 kills and Hoover adding 12 of her own.

"It was so exciting and fun," said senior libero Taylor Bell after the victory. "It's the end of the season. It was a really exciting game for us."

Perhaps not quite as exciting as what came next, though.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - West Linn senior libero Taylor Bell (right) is all smiles during a postgame dance performance put on by the team's underclassmen to celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at West Linn High School.

Following the win, the Lions put the finishing touches on their Senior Night festivities with a choreographed dance from the team's younger players. It was a scene of pure jubilance after an important win, and it demonstrated just how close this West Linn team has grown over the year.

"It's a tradition," explained Bell, who took off the past few seasons and has only experienced the dance from a senior's perspective. "(The underclassmen) have been talking about putting it together for so long. It blew away my expectations."

While the postgame show required the five seniors — Bell, Hoover, Semau, Ruby Michelon and Olivia Trobetsky — be separated from the rest of the team, Bell notes that the whole squad is close-knit.

"We have a really tight team this year. We're good friends off the court, too," said Bell.

"After we did our team sleepover at the beginning of the year, (we learned that) we all have a very similar sense of humor," added the senior libero. "Our bus rides are always fun, and we just have a lot of fun together."

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - West Linn senior Amyah Semau (7) gets one of her team-leading 24 kills during the Lions' 3-0 victory over St. Mary's Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, during Senior Night at West Linn High School.

For this West Linn team, that closeness outside the painted lines has led to plenty of success on the court.

The team may not boast the eye-popping record it did this time last year, when the Lions were 23-2 and undefeated Three Rivers champs. Still, this is a group that has gotten better as the season has progressed, according to Hoover.

"Just taking pressure off ourselves, having fun and finding the love of volleyball again," Hoover said, explaining how the team has turned up the dial down the stretch. "Accepting the fact that you're going to make errors — just learn from every play, get better and have fun."

Now, with the postseason clearly on the horizon, these Lions aren't forcing themselves to live up to last year.

"We're just focusing on having fun. Whatever happens, happens," said Hoover. "As long as we leave it all on the court, that's all we can do."

The OSAA 6A Volleyball State Championship tournament begins Wednesday, Oct. 26. The full 32-team bracket will be released sometime after the final OSAA rankings freeze at 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22.


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