Warriors bounce back from wipeout against Westview

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Alohas Ciara Lambert leaps to take a crack at a kill attempt against Beaverton.

Deja vu, this definitely was not.

Two days after building a two-set lead against Westview only to let the match get away from them in a frustrating five-set loss, the Aloha volleyball team made amends against Beaverton.

Up two games to zero, the Warriors slammed the door on the Beavers with seven straight points to seize a 13-6 lead in the third game and eventually complete a 25-13, 25-17, 25-15 sweep on Thursday.

“We took our anger from that game and put it toward this game,” said Aloha senior Jessie Price. “We all worked well together, made sure we communicated and did the things we needed to do to take care of the game.”

“We were hungry for a win today,” said Victoria Henry. “We've been working on having consistent energy throughout the game. We got on each other about keeping up our energy and staying positive.”

After letting Westview off the plank, Aloha wasn't about to let lightning strike twice and give Beaverton any kind of hope. They were centered on closing out the game with workman-like intensity and capturing their first Metro win of the season.

“We learned that even if you think the game might be over, you can't give up,” said Price. “You have to finish the entire match and can't take anything for granted. Until the game is completely over and won, you can't take it easy. You can't put yourself on cruise control just because you hit a peak.”

“That (the Westview loss) was so on our minds,” added Aloha sophomore Ciara Lambert. “The frustration and stuff from that game carried on and we put it toward Beaverton.”

Aloha, for as young as it is with just four seniors on the squad, has enough power in its lineup to light up the Warrior gymnasium. Lambert, Price, Henry and Miranda Hensley were forces in the first set, pummeling spikes of all kinds: one-legged springs, two-footed takeoffs and overhanded windmills.

Lambert laced five kills in the opening win and even duped the Beaverton defense with a tip after dropping the hammer for four consecutive points.

Lambert said Aloha switched up their offensive sets to keep Beaverton's block on their toes. The Beavers' defense had a tough time putting a finger on where the Warriors were going at the net, and it allowed Lambert, Hensley and Price to plow kills from different TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Alohas Ellie Parker (3) and Ciara Lambert (12) go up to block Beavertons Mady Crouse during the Warriors sweep on Thursday.

“In practice, we focus a lot on where to position the ball,” said Lambert. “Then, if you're confident in that, you just swing away, and it feels really good to get that really strong hit in the court.”

Recently, Price said, Aloha's spent a lot of time working on its hitting in practice. Sometimes they'll split the team into passers and hitters and that really helps the Warriors zero in on their specific objectives.

“We can channel in and focus on what we as hitters need to do, instead of the whole game itself,” said Price. “We get to focus on swinging, snapping (the wrist on the follow through), all the technique. It really paid off today. That was a fun win. I'm glad we got one under our belt and hopefully have more to come.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beavertons Kenzie Hargens digs out a serve on the Beavers side of the floor against Aloha.

Game-swinging rallies

Henry's Olympic-style jump serve tormented Beaverton in the second and third games, and triggered a duo of game-swinging rallies. Aloha went on a 7-0 run midway through the second contest to seize control, in large part to Henry's four consecutive aces from the backline. In the third game, Henry had four aces and two kills, and Shannon Tiffany tacked on a pair of aces and two kills for the 25-15 win. Henry ended the deciding third set with back-to-back powerful serves that were projectiles pounding the far side of the Beaverton defense.

“I've been working on that all summer and in the preseason. That's what got me here today,” said Henry. “Technique-wise, my coaches help me out a lot.”

Beaverton courageously stepped in the line of Aloha's rapid fire roundhouse spikes and was able to obstruct scores of high-speed kills with strong digs and judicious defense. Ashley Harris, Meghan Cortner, and Tia Deharport threw themselves around the court for the Beavers and kept the games competitive. Crouse was especially impressed with Deharport's defensive prowess and desire to not deter from Aloha's top hitters.

“The girl never fails to get at least a hand on any ball that's hit,” said Crouse of Deharport. “She can go from corner-to-corner. She's all over the place.

“Our defense has definitely stepped it up, since last year, But it can be a lot better. It starts off with coming into practice of having a mindset of staying low, passing balls in your midline and just being confident passing the ball.”

“Our defense was definitely on point tonight,” added Jackoshank. “We were always there and being ready for anything that came over the net."

Beaverton hung tough in the second and third games as Crouse and Kate Stone swapped kills, and Kenzie Hargens blocked a pair of Warrior shots. Harris and Sarah Tantare did their best to cover the floor defensively, but the Beavers had complications stopping a motivated and vexed Warrior team. by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beavertons Isabell Parker (8) goes up with two hands to tip Alohas Sophia Lorentz (10).

“Our coach tells us to trust in our abilities, and I think we lacked that a little bit,” said Jackoshank. “We came out, and we weren't as focused for the game. Our mindset wasn't on volleyball. We were focused on different things, and that affected how we played tonight.”

Jackoshank and Crouse said Beaverton needs to be ready for anything and everything, not just the roundhouse spikes that come soaring into their defense. Offensively, both Beavers agreed the squad has to play more collectively and not take on solo scoring missions that are tougher to complete.

“One person can't play the whole game,” said Crouse. “You need all six or seven people who are going to contribute to the team at all times. It takes six to play, not one.”

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