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Wildcats swept Putnam and Parkrose last week and have only dropped one set this season

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Wilsonville senior Lindsey Hartford blocks a shot at the net Tuesday against Putnam.

Wilsonville's volleyball team stayed hot last week, sweeping Northwest Oregon Conference opponents Putnam and Parkrose 3-0.

The Wildcats improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the NWOC.

"I think something really unique about our team this year that has really contributed to such a strong start is that we're all so close and we're all so supportive of each other, and I think that it's really hard not to start off that strong when you're all so close and trust each other 100 percent," Wilsonville senior outside hitter Lindsey Hartford said after the Wildcats defeated Putnam 25-13, 25-14, 25-18 last Tuesday. "We really focused on our serve receive. We knew Putnam was coming out with some really tough serves. We focused well and we buckled down when we needed to."

Wilsonville also served aggressively. In 74 attempts, the Wildcats had 12 aces and 14 errors.

Seniors Grace Thompson and Kennedy Juranek each had three aces against Putnam.

"We're a very aggressive serving team," Wilsonville coach Nathan Blankenship said. "I expect a balance of errors and aces and as long as that ratio is healthy, I'm happy and I applaud the girls for having the gumption to keep going hard. The objective is to not let the opposing team get into system readily as they may, and a serve that is not aggressive will allow you to get into system quickly and get into rhythm. That's part of our objective to serve tough is to keep them out of system and then attack very aggressively."

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Wilsonville junior Clarissa Klein had nine kills Tuesday against Putnam.

Sophomore Ashli Edmiston led the Wildcats with 12 kills. Junior Clarissa Klein had nine kills and Hartford added eight kills. Juranek recorded 31 assists.

Going back to the 2017 season, Wilsonville has won 29 straight league matches. Over the past two seasons, the Wildcats have only lost one set against a NWOC opponent. Wilsonville has not lost a match at home in more than two years.

"That's a big goal for us, don't drop a set, sweep as much as we can," Hartford said. "Once we get against some really tough teams that will help us stay focused. Everyone is coming for us and we know that. There's a big target on our backs, but we're ready for it."

This season, the Wildcats have only dropped one set in a 2-1 win over Class 6A Oregon City on Sept. 14 in the semifinals of the Tualatin tournament.

After losing the first game 18-25, Wilsonville trailed late in the second before coming back to win 26-24 and then take the third set 15-13.

"They had a lot of weapons and it was a really good fight," said Hartford. "I'm really proud of our grit in that game. We never gave up. Oregon City is a really tough team and we're going to see a lot of really tough teams, so I'm really glad that we got to play them."

The Wildcats then defeated Newberg 2-0 (25-22, 27-25) for the Tualatin tournament championship.

"It was great competition and a very good exercise in being under pressure in the last points of a game and pulling through," Blankenship said. "It showed character and the maturity of the team."

Derek Wiley
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