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Skyhawks outlast fiesty Warriors in three games


Southridge closes out the first half with a 4-1 league record

BEAVERTON — Halfway through the 2012 season, the Southridge volleyball team has been ver y, very good.

And for the second half of its match against the Skyhawks last week, Aloha was pretty darned good too.

Southridge, hosting the Warriors at Southridge High School on Oct 4, thumped Aloha 25-11 in game one, then sped out to lead 19-5 in game two before the Warriors finally roused themselves.

Aloha closed game two — a 25-16 Southridge win — on an 11-6 run, then gave the Skyhawks all they wanted in game three before finally falling short 25-21. The win lifted Southridge’s Metro League record to 4-1, while the Warriors closed the first half at 0-5.

by: MILES VANCE - SENIOR SHOT - Southridge senior outside hitter Kelli Derrah hits over the block of Aloha junior Miranda Hensley during the Skyhawks three-game Metro League  sweep of the Warriors at Southridge High School on Oct. 4.

“We have to work on mental toughness and being able to perform in those tight situations,” said Southridge senior outside hitter Kelli Derrah. “We have to remember that each team is in the way of our goal so we just have to focus.”

“We know every match is going to be tough and we have to go in with focus and not let any of our competitors take a game off us,” added Southridge senior setter Nicole Rigoni.

For their part, the Warriors believe there are better things ahead in the second half of the season.

“That’s our motto — ‘It’s not how you start the game, it’s how you finish,’” said Aloha junior outside hitter Jessie Price. “We’re going to put that toward our season and try to push harder and play with a lot more confidence from the start.”

“We started kind of rough this year because we had a lot of girls who are new to varsity, but we’re all bonding and coming together,” added Aloha senior outside hitter/middle blocker Tricia Nystrom, the team’s lone senior. But “I think that midway in game two, we realized that we can compete with them.”

It took a while, though. The Skyhawks led 6-3 early on, then took control with a 6-0 run served up by Ikumi Yano that included four aces and boosted the Southridge edge to 12-3. Aloha got within eight points just once after that, and within nine just three times the rest of the way.

Game two looked like it would follow a similar arc, with the Skyhawks accelerating to an 8-1 lead that included three kills each from Alexa Basauri and Mariah Anderson. Southridge then used another big run that included three points form Bethany Kosmowski and two by Derrah to extend its lead to 15-3.

The margin crested at 19-5 on an Aloha error, but the Warriors woke up then and there. Aloha ripped off a 7-2 run to close within 21-12, with Price and Miranda Hensley both notching aces. The Warriors eventually cut their deficit to seven — at 24-17 — thanks to two Nystrom points, but the Skyhawks escaped with the 25-16 win on a missed Aloha serve.

Game three was even closer, with Southridge’s biggest lead just four points — first at 10-6 and then at 25-21 — and included 10 ties but just four lead changes. Indeed, the Skyhawks seemed to stiffen and score almost every time the Warriors threatened to break through.

“They started adjusting to our offense,” Rigoni said. “We like to do a lot of shots and they adjusted to it so we had to work around it.”

“I feel like we started playing with a lot more confidence,” Price said. “We were sick of not putting all our effort into it, so once we started putting in the effort, we could see the outcome was going to be different.”

The last of that game’s ties came at 20-20 when Kosmowski made a tip down the line to take the serve away from Aloha. The Skyhawks made it 21-20 on an Aloha hitting error, 22-20 on a Basauri tip, then 22-21 when Nystrom blocked a Kosmowski tip.

Anderson connected crosscourt to make it 23-21, and two Aloha errors ended the Warriors’ hopes of stealing game three.

“Every practice we go in and we work hard,” Rigoni said. “We want to stay second in Metro and be ready to take on Jesuit next when they come to our house.”

“I think we overestimated how well they would play so we didn’t come in with the confidence we had the second half of the second game,” Price said. But then “we got excited, we played with confidence, energy and it just clicked.”

In upcoming matches, Southridge hosts Sunset tonight (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m., plays in the Clearwater Classic ion Bend on Saturday, then hosts Jesuit on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Aloha hosts Beaverton tonight at 6:30 p.m., then plays at Sunset at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.