Wilsonville volleyball rolls past Crook County in playoff opener
It's the playoffs and nothing comes easy in the second season.
But the best teams, when they get tested, step up to meet the challenges that present themselves — and that's just what the Wilsonville volleyball team did in its Class 5A state playoff opener.
The Wildcats, hosting Crook County on Saturday, Oct. 30, had to battle for everything they got against the Cowgirls, but got rewarded with a hard-fought 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 sweep at Wilsonville High School.
"I think we did really well. I think everyone did a good job," said Wilsonville junior setter Makenna Wiepert. "We played really well as a team, which was really fun to watch and be a part of."
"We picked up our energy a ton and just played more as a team as the night went on," said senior outside hitter Ashli Edmiston, who led her team in kills against Crook County. "We have really great team chemistry and play really well together."
With the win — the seventh-ranked Wildcats' fourth straight — Wilsonville improved to 19-4 overall after winning the Northwest Oregon Conference. No. 10 Crook County, meanwhile, lost for the second time in its last three matches and finished the year at 14-8 after placing second in the Intermountain Conference.
While the Wildcats eventually walked away with the sweep, none of it came easy against the Cowgirls. In the day's first set, Crook County led most of the way until Wilsonville drew even at 18-18, then scored seven of the set's final 11 points to win 25-22. The Cats' final two points of the set came on a pair of missed serves by Crook County.
There was more back and forth — a lot more — in the second set, with the Cowgirls still tied with the Wildcats at 23-23 before Wilsonville got the final two points on another Crook County service error and a kill from the middle by junior Emma Alewin set by Wiepert.
Along the way, Edmiston notched six kills and two aces in the set, while Alewin added three kills, senior Sydney Bowen had two kills, and Wiepert contributed two aces and a kill of her own.
The Wildcats looked they might have an easier time of it in the third set, grabbing a 14-8 lead when Edmiston took a Wiepert set and connected cross court from the left side, but Crook County had other ideas. The Cowgirls battled back within 19-16 before the Wildcats finally pulled away to win, with Edmiston getting three kills down the stretch, senior Sophia Kleckner notching an ace and Wiepert scoring on a tip.
While the Wildcats know there are tougher tests ahead, they remained confident in their abilities.
"We just have to play as a team, but we can do it if we play to the best of our abilities," Wiepert said.
"We just have to continue to play as a team and play our game and we'll be good to go," Edmiston added. "If we have energy and just a quiet confidence, we'll be good."
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