Lakers swept by league-leading West Linn
The last time the West Linn and Lake Oswego volleyball teams squared off, the Lakers pushed the Lions to five sets in a hard-fought battle.
West Linn made sure there was no repeat of that on Oct. 5.
The Lions applied the pressure to the Lakers right from the get-go, kept the heat on throughout the night and walked away with a 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 win at West Linn High School.
"Our energy just wasn't there tonight. I thought we could've brought a lot more," said Lake Oswego sophomore outside hitter Jensen Kaelin. "I know we all fought with our hearts, we just needed to bring more energy and fire."
"It was rough, especially when our team ... was having a little mental downslope toward the end there," added junior middle blocker/outside hitter Kylee Wimmer. "It's hard to come back up from those."
With the win — and a three set victory over Canby on Tuesday — the Lions improved to 12-0 and 14-3 overall, and also extended their lead over second-place Lakeridge in Three Rivers League play. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, came back to beat St. Mary's in three sets on Tuesday and took its TRL record to 8-4 and its overall mark to 10-7.
"Last time was the first game of the season so we are more into it now and we're more comfortable where we're at so we have an easier time staying up and keeping each other up," said West Linn junior setter Hannah Hashbarger. "That's what we've been working on."
"The other one was the first match of the season and we came out and we were really rusty and we hadn't really played together as a team," added West Linn senior Abby Fillion, who led her team in kills on Thursday. "I think tonight we had a lot of team chemistry and a lot of energy coming from the court and from the bench and it really helped us take it in three."
Lake Oswego stayed with West Linn during the early part of the first set, trailing just 8-7 on a Jordan Noble ace that capped a four-point Lakers' run.
But the Lions took over there and outscored Lake Oswego 17-10 the rest of the way to their 25-17 win. Senior setter/opposite Callista Noel had a kill and an ace in that stretch, and sophomore middle blocker Makayla Long added three kills, including the game-winner from the middle of the net after a set by Noel.
The second set was even closer, with the Lakers down just 18-17 following a Kaelin kill from the left side set by Olivia Salita. But West Linn steadied itself and closed the set with a 7-2 run to win 25-19. That stretch began with a Fillion kill and a Fillion ace, then continued with a Long kill on a free ball, a crosscourt point from Isabella Bean, a Laker error and the game-winning kill from Erika Isaacson set by Hashbarger.
The third set featured more of the same, with the Lions pulling away mid-game after a Wimmer tip gave her team a sideout and brought the Lakers within 10-7. Isaacson notched three kills in the ensuing rotations, but Lake Oswego was still within 17-13 on a missed West Linn serve.
From there, the Lions pulled away with an 8-3 stretch highlighted by two Fillion kills, another point by Bean, a Hashbarger ace, two Long kills and, finally, a Laker error for the 25-16 score.
"We were pretty confident and determined that we wanted to take care of that one," Hashbarger said. "Hopefully, it keeps going."
"We just took care of business and I think that was really important for us tonight, especially at home," Fillion added.
The Lakers, meanwhile, left knowing what they need to do to get better.
"We just need to come out with the energy against big teams like West Linn who are ranked higher than us," Kaelin said. "We just need to keep in perspective that we have nothing to lose and they have everything to lose, so we just need to go hard and fight for the win."
"Energy on the court is definitely a bonus to have ... and we need to come out with the mentality that losing one point doesn't mean we'll lose the game," Wimmer added.
In upcoming matches, West Linn plays in the Clearwater Classic in Bend this weekend, plays at Canby at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, then plays at Tigard at 4 p.m. Thursday. Lake Oswego hosts St. Mary's at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, then faces Tualatin at Lakeridge at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.