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Aloha challenges, but cant defeat, the Apollos

But Aloha wins game one to put a scare into Sunset in their Tuesday match
by: JONATHAN HOUSE, WARRIOR ATTACK – Aloha’s Niki Naboulsi (right) tries to hit through the Sunset block during her team’s Metro loss on Tuesday night.

CEDAR MILL - Sunset needed something to get it going.

While a first-game loss wasn't exactly ideal, it proved to be a serviceable remedy to some early sluggishness as the Apollos went on to take the next three games in a 24-26, 25-15, 25-17, 25-15 victory over Aloha on Tuesday at Sunset High School.

'We always start a little rough,' Sunset senior setter Katie Sneed said. 'We all just started talking and connecting. We stepped up our communication and worked really well together after that (first game).'

Sneed had a game-high 20 assists, often setting sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Jorgensen for some punishing attacks. Jorgensen was a force throughout the match with 23 kills. She also served as the team's setter for stretches and finished with nine assists.

'I just tried to find the open spots,' Jorgensen said. 'Everyone around me was talking. I just listened to where they told me to hit.'

The Apollos' improved communication throughout the match was a step up from how they began. Aloha gained control early in game 1, taking a 15-11 lead when sophomore setter Sarah Bain fed senior outside hitter Elise Yarnell on the left side and Yarnell slammed a kill into the back row off a diving Sunset player.

The Apollos recovered and eventually took a 22-21 lead after sophomore Laura Stanulis set Jorgensen for a kill off the Warriors' block. But Aloha regained a 24-23 lead on one of sophomore Kimberli Boswell's team-high six kills, then won the first game after a Sunset attack went into the net on game point.

The Apollos took charge from there to improve to 2-2 in Metro League play, while dropping the Warriors to 0-4.

'Once we messed up, we changed what we were doing,' Jorgensen said. 'We got together and started talking and cheering each other on more.'

Often times it was Jorgensen producing the reason to do so. She capped a 10-2 run in the second game with a kill into the empty back corner for a 21-11 lead.

'We're getting everyone to hit, but when we want a kill, we go to her,' Sneed said. 'She's a pretty dominant hitter.'

Aloha narrowed the gap, but Sunset closed out the game by winning the final three points.

Stanulis, who had seven kills, set up game point by banging a bad Aloha pass into the middle of the Warriors' court. Aloha's attack went into the net to even the match at 1-1.

Aloha led 11-8 in the third game after senior middle blocker Cristy Johnson's bump went off the top of the net and trickled over. Sunset took charge from there, taking a 16-15 lead on senior middle Emily Hinds' kill.

Junior libero Brittney Boyd stretched the lead, using hard-hit low serves to get the Warriors' out of sync during a 6-0 run that put Sunset ahead 20-15. Jorgensen closed out the game by banging a kill down the middle.

The Apollos never trailed in the final game and led 13-5 after Jorgensen set Stanulis, who pounded an attack off Aloha's block that ran down the net and dropped to the court.

The Warriors closed the gap with a 5-1 run that included back-to-back service aces by Emily Rosenberger. Boswell's kill off the block and a bad serve receive by Sunset made it 16-12, but the Apollos finished strong.

Jorgensen set Sam Gatzke for a big swing off the Aloha's block to draw Sunset to match point. Fittingly, Jorgensen finished off the Warriors with a service ace that found a hole on the right side, landing just in front of a diving Aloha player.