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Indians have a shot at a playoff appearance with two games remaining in Tri-Valley league play

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Molalla junior Jaden Beyer (2) and sophomore Georgia
Hunter (5) jump to defend a point against Crook County last Thursday.

The Molalla volleyball team has a chance to do something no other Indians team has been able to do in a number of years: make a run at a 4A playoff berth.

Molalla swept Gladstone this year as they won 3-1 (17-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15) last Tuesday, and then challenged the current league leader Crook County at home last Thursday by taking the Cowgirls to four sets, winning the third 25-21 and keeping the other three sets to a close battle (25-17, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20).

"The girls gave it their all and worked really hard on being disciplined in the stuff we worked on to prepare for the game," head coach Lauree Nelzen said. "Defense specifically, we covered the court much better after some adjustments, and they didn't put as many balls away on us as the first time we played them … to have gotten a set off Crook County, and keep them out of system for a lot of the match was really great."

Molalla (4-4) is currently one game back from Corbett (5-3), and the Indians will have the chance to challenge for a third-place spot in the Tri-Valley and potentially earn a play-in game if they can win their final league game against the Cardinals at home on Oct. 17 for senior night.

"A win is great regardless, but yes, right now a win against either Corbett or Estacada would be very welcome," Nelzen said. "Even if we can improve our sets won total, those numbers will help us post season."

Two wins this week would throw a big rift in the Tri-Valley standings and move the Indians upward, as they'll have to go through Estacada (6-2) in an away matchup tonight.

"Estacada is tough, they are a good ball control team, so we need to focus on doing the same thing against them as we did against Crook County: staying disciplined on defense and putting the ball in play to give us a chance to earn the point," Nelzen said. "We are serving almost 90 percent as a team, which is so fantastic; we've really worked on placement this year, and that has definitely helped."

Molalla will take a break from league play to play in the Seaside Tournament this weekend, and then return home to take on Corbett at home next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

"Hopefully we can stay focused this week and into next week on what we need to do to compete, which is what I ask of the girls," Nelzen said. "No matter who we play, we compete."

Molalla heads to Estacada tonight for a shot at an upset victory over the Rangers at 6 p.m.


Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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