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West Albany dominated and earned the Class 5A state title in a sweep over Wilsonville.



Controlling chaos sounds a bit like an oxymoron.

But in the eyes of Wilsonville High volleyball coach Scott Thompson, that was the difference in the No. 7 Wildcats' 25-22, 25-18, 25-22 loss to No. 1 West Albany in the Class 5A state title match Saturday, Nov. 6, at Liberty High School.

Despite senior Ashli Edmiston crushing attacks, the Bulldogs found a way to dig them and get to any tip attempts to control the match and earn the third state volleyball title in West Albany history.

"What they're really good at is scrambling, keeping balls alive, blocking for points, tipping for points, that kind of stuff," Thompson said. "We had them out of system, we found a serve-receive target that was working … I thought they were better at the net and just the scrambling and random balls, chaos. They were fantastic."

Facing West Albany means trying to keep Hailey Heider in check, and the Wildcats did a solid job of it with the senior only getting 16 kills.

However, Heider also threw in 2.5 blocks as the Bulldogs had 11 blocks as a team in the match to Wilsonville's three.

Wilsonville's game plan coming in was to feed Edmiston early and often, and it worked to begin with as the Wildcats grabbed a 5-0 lead in the first set.

But West Albany quickly adjusted its block and made things tough on the four-year Wilsonville starter.

"They're such a great team, but honestly it was a lot of our mistakes that got us," Edmiston said. "It was an honor to play them … they're such a great team."

Wilsonville had West Albany on the ropes in the first set, however, leading at one point 19-13. But mistakes bedeviled the Wildcats as the Bulldogs came all the way back and closed the set on a 10-2 run.

That energy carried over to the second as Edmiston's pace of 10 kills in the first set wouldn't be sustained and the Bulldogs went to their own heavy hitter in Heider.PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Wilsonville High volleyball's Ashli Edmiston dives for a ball against West Albany on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in the Class 5A state championship match at Liberty High School.

Wilsonville came out in the third with energy to burn and went up 5-1, only to give it back quickly as West Albany took an 11-10 lead and never gave it back.

Consistently the Wildcats tried to feed Edmiston, even from the back row, but it wasn't working. Other options such as Emma Alewine, who had seven kills, would work for one point, but would be snuffed out on the next.

Edmiston had 21 kills to lead the match and hit .173 on her 52 attack attempts.

"We had a plan to establish Ashli early, which I thought we did, and then we usually start distributing the ball," Thompson said. "I think our setting was really good, I thought Makenna (Wiepert) made a lot of good decisions."

Speaking of setters, West Albany's Sydney Harrington had 28 assists, but Wiepert led the match with 30.

In the end. though, the silver trophy marks Wilsonville's second in volleyball, the first coming in the last sanctioned season in 2019, when the Wildcats fell to Ridgeview in straight sets.

Thompson and Edmiston both agree that the program has more than established itself as a potential perennial contender in the Class 5A, thanks in part to the 2022 senior class.

"They have a lot of good returners, they have two great coaches so they're going to be good," Edmiston, who said she's still deciding on where she's going to be playing next in college.PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Wilsonville High volleyball's Emma Alewine goes up for a block attempt against West Albany on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, during the Class 5A state championship match at Liberty High School.

Thompson has seen the tremendous growth of his program and believes in the players he has returning to continue making a run at bringing home gold next year instead of silver.

"We're going to reload. I have a super sophomore class, as I like to call it, that has a lot of talent," Thompson said. "I'm hopeful we'll have a good club season and come back ready to roll next year."

But before prep begins for the 2022 season, Thompson recognized what his 2022 seniors have done to elevate the Wildcats.

"They're really, really good. They brought a lot of leadership," Thompson said. "We have big voids, but so does everyone else. West Albany graduates eight so I like our chances against them next year."


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