Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Volleyball: Wilsonville serves up first win over Sherwood since 2008

Wildcats sweep rival for first time since 2007


by: JEFF GOODMAN - The Wilsonville volleyball team celebrates its sweep of rival Sherwood at home Sept. 17. The Wildcats had not defeated the Bowmen since 2008.First-year Wilsonville volleyball coach Kristen Rott remembers being surprised by what her players said during a team meeting before the start of the season.

“I asked the girls what their goals were for this year, and I was expecting ‘top-three finish in league’ or ‘getting to state,’” Rott said. “But the first thing out of their mouths was, ‘We want to beat Sherwood.’ I’m thinking, ‘What is this rivalry?’ But I’m learning. I’m quickly learning.”

Rott probably realized how much the rivalry means to her players after watching them celebrate their commanding 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-17) triumph at home Sept. 17.

This was no ordinary league victory, to be sure. Sherwood had won the previous nine conference meetings. The perennial powerhouse had been nothing short of dominant during that stretch, racking up a whopping sets margin of 27-1.

Entering the match, the Wildcats had not taken a set from the Bowmen since 2010, had not defeated them since Sept. 23, 2008, and had not swept them since Oct. 4, 2007.

At that point, most of Wilsonville’s current varsity players were in elementary school. So it made sense when they erupted with jubilation after their epic victory.

“Oh my gosh,” junior Hailey Hayes said.

“It’s a big deal,” junior Lexy Thompson said.

“This is huge,” sophomore Madi Wardle said.

“It’s honestly one of the greatest feelings,” senior Rebecca Wenz said.

And the Wildcats feel they’re working towards something special. With just eight players on their roster, they climbed to No. 3 in the Class 5A rankings, improved to 3-0 in Northwest Oregon Conference action and delivered the kind of performance that makes the program’s first state playoff win since 2007 seem like a real possibility.

All of this from a squad that won just four of its 14 league matches last season.

Wilsonville also appears to be a much more confident team now than it was at a Sept. 5 jamboree in Hillsboro. That day, the squad defeated Liberty, Milwaukie and Parkrose but lost to you-know-who.

“At the jamboree we were kind of scared of them because we had never beaten them,” said Thompson, who tied a team high with nine kills while adding three aces. “This time, we just went out there and gave it our all. We definitely felt we could win.”

Rott said her team focused on its mental approach in the days leading up to the first of two conference clashes with Sherwood.

“The girls were so pumped up about this match, so our preparation was all about composure and discipline,” Rott said. “They stuck to the game plan and came out on top this time.”

Early on, however, it didn’t look as if the Wildcats were on their way to a signature win.

They committed several errors and fell behind 9-3 in the first set, forcing Rott to call a timeout.

“We were in a hole,” said Wardle, who tallied a team-high five aces. “Coach was like, ‘Come on, keep pushing.’ We fought like crazy.”

Wilsonville responded with a 16-5 run, forcing a 13-13 tie on a kill by junior Kyra Austin, pulling ahead for the first time in the frame on a serving ace by Thompson, building a 17-14 advantage on back-to-back aces by sophomore Skyler Matthews and taking a five-point edge on an attack error by the Bowmen.

But the Wildcats needed another surge after allowing Sherwood to rally for a 21-21 tie. They notched the final four points of the set on a kill by Thompson, a spike by Hayes, a Sherwood error and a block by Austin.

“We didn’t let anything get to the ground,” Wenz said.

In the second set, Wilsonville had to engineer another comeback after falling behind 11-5 early and trailing 22-16 on an offensive error.

Its riveting 9-1 run to finish the frame included three aces by Wardle, a crosscourt kill by Hayes and a block by sophomore Genna Florig. Wardle, Florig and Wenz recorded eight kills apiece.

“We always let ourselves down, and we have to fight a lot harder just to get back,” said Hayes, who logged nine kills. “But we trusted each other. Everyone played together. The energy was awesome.”

Wenz, who capped her team’s 25-23 victory with a kill and an ace, said the end line has been a strong suit for the Wildcats this year.

“We focus so much on our serves — it helps with everything,” she said. “We practice that a lot.”

Wilsonville surrendered the first point of the third set but used its crafty serving to pull away for a 25-17 decision.

Back-to-back aces by Wardle put her team ahead, 7-4. Consecutive aces by Wenz made it 10-5. The Bowmen battled for a 14-14 tie, but a kill by Wardle and two aces by Thompson gave the Wildcats a cushion they never relinquished.

“It’s all a blur,” Thompson said.

When the match ended, Wilsonville’s players gathered in a celebratory huddle. They knew that what they had just accomplished was worthy of a few euphoric yells.

“All of us were going crazy,” Wardle said.

“It’s all meshed for us,” Wenz said.

“It shows that our program is finally growing,” Thompson said.

“We’re definitely going to be a team to beat, I think,” Hayes said.

Added Rott: “If they play their caliber of game, there’s no one that can stop them.”

***

AT A GLANCE

Sept. 17 at Wilsonville High School

Sherwood 21 23 17 — 0

Wilsonville 25 25 25 — 3

Kills: Thompson 9, Hayes 9, Wardle 8, Wenz 8, Florig 8, Austin 3.

Aces: Wardle 5, Thompson 3, Wenz 2, Matthews 2, Florig.

SIGNATURE SWEEP

Wilsonville earned its first regular-season win over Sherwood since 2008 and managed a sweep of its rival for the first time since 2007:

Oct. 4, 2007: Wilsonville, 3-0

Sept. 23, 2008: Wilsonville, 3-2

Oct. 16, 2008: Sherwood, 3-0

Sept. 29, 2009: Sherwood, 3-0

Oct. 22, 2009: Sherwood, 3-0

Sept. 28, 2010: Sherwood, 3-1

Oct. 21, 2010: Sherwood, 3-0

Sept. 29, 2011: Sherwood, 3-0

Oct. 25, 2011: Sherwood, 3-0

Sept. 18, 2012: Sherwood, 3-0

Oct. 11, 2012: Sherwood, 3-0

Sept. 17, 2013: Wilsonville, 3-0




Local Weather

Fair

65°F

Wilsonville

Fair

Humidity: 58%

Wind: 5 mph

  • 22 Aug 2014

    Clear 79°F 56°F

  • 23 Aug 2014

    Sunny 87°F 58°F