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Cats battle past Beavers in Metro play

by: John Lariviere, NO WAY — Westview senior setter Stacie Appel reacts to a call during her team’s Metro League vitory over Beaverton on Tuesday night at Beaverton High School.

BEAVERTON - Westview found itself in an unenviable position after dropping the first game on the road in front of Beaverton 's rowdy students.

The Wildcats' recovery was swift, though, pulling out a tight win in the second game and closing out the match in four games, improving to 2-0 in Metro League volleyball with a 22-25, 27-25, 25-9, 27-25 victory.

The Beavers closed out the first game by winning the final three points. Westview didn't let that happen again, finishing extended games two and four to send Beaverton to 0-2 in league play.

'Our team really decided we wanted it more than they did,' Westview senior captain Stacie Appel said. 'We were just going to do it.'

The Wildcats did it with an active 'D,' an agile offense and a little 'Purpose Beyond Yourself' - the team's motto.

'It means being unselfish in every aspect of the game,' Westview coach Soco Hernandez said. 'We're all in it together. We have a very inexperienced team, so it takes all of us to succeed.'

Key to the Wildcats' success Tuesday was a late rally in the second game to avoid an 0-2 hole. A couple Beavers hitting errors helped Westview draw to a 23-23 tie. Stephanie Phelps followed by setting the Wildcats' sophomore middle hitter Katelyn Comfort for a tip that landed along the open left sideline.

With Beaverton blockers Danielle Brown and Hannah Mills on the block, Westview found success with the tip.

'The had some nice, tall blockers,' Appel said. 'We just tipped right over the block and hoped they didn't get to it.'

Comfort's big bang off a Beaverton player gave Westview a 25-24 lead before the Beavers tied it when a Wildcat attack went wide. But Westview closed, turning again to Comfort, who smashed a kill cleanly down the middle to set up game point. Appel finished it by pounding a kill off the Beavers' libero to win.

'We really focused our effort on ball control,' Hernandez said. 'We needed to minimize our errors and control play on our side.'

That mentality continued in a dominant game-three win. Lydon set the tone with a trio of aces in the first four points to spark quick 10-1 and 15-2 leads.

Beaverton's comeback hopes took a hit midway through the game when senior setter Sydney Koetzli got tangled up with a teammate while chasing the ball. Koetzli banged her head on the court and suffered a slight concussion, forcing a change in the Beavers' strategy.

'That definitely changed things,' Mills said. 'We can still hit, but we can't run plays (and) she's the leader.'

Westview went on to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Beaverton made them earn the fourth game despite the setback.

The Wildcats drew to match point at 24-22 but Brown's solid block kept Beaverton alive. A pair of Wildcat errors gave the Beavers match point before Comfort's block led to a tie game and a bad set by the Beavers ended it at 27-25.

'To go 25-27 without our primary setter is enormous,' Beaverton coach Megan Nilson said. 'It shows we can really pull together as a team. I'm not too concerned about the outcome. I'm just glad we rallied.'