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Intense Wolves rally past Sunset

Volleyball -- Tualatin, prepping for its clash with Canby, downs the Apollos in five games
by: DAN BROOD, TALL AT THE NET — Tualatin senior Sarah Kirsch knocks the ball over the net in the match at Sunset.

CEDAR MILL - They've got high goals.

With that in mind, they're not going to let up.

Not for a non-league match - not even if it appears they're heading toward a sure defeat in that non-league match.

The Tualatin High School volleyball team, in first place in the Pacific Conference standings, kept its intensity level high as it rallied to score a 25-23, 12-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11 win over Sunset in a non-league match played last Thursday at Sunset High School.

'Oh my gosh. That was extremely intense,' Tualatin senior outside hitter Abby Messenger said after the victory.

'Even though it wasn't a league match, we really wanted to win,' Timberwolf senior setter Gabriela Bosley said. 'We want to win every match. We're really determined.'

The Wolves are hoping their two non-league matches with Metro League opponents (they beat Westview back on Oct. 3) will also help them prepare for the second half of the Pacific Conference season.

Tualatin goes into the second half of league play in first place at 5-0, putting the Wolves one game up on second-place Canby.

'This one will help us get ready,' Messenger said. 'We were hoping it would be a competitive match.'

Tualatin got its wish in that one. In fact, last Thursday's match at Sunset was the Wolves' first five-game match of the season.

'It was really nice to win that fifth game,' Messenger said. 'I'm glad we got to play some Metro teams.'

Tualatin pulled away late to win the first game of the match at Sunset 25-23.

The game was tied at 19-19 before the Wolves, getting a point on a kill by senior Sam Child, off a set by Bosley, and a tip by sophomore Hannah Holloran, jumped to a 23-21 lead.

The Apollos tie the game at 23-23, but the Wolves scored the final two points on a Sunset error and a point on serve by Holloran.

Disaster hit Tualatin in the second game. With Sunset already leading 5-3, the Apollos, behind the play of sophomore Jennifer Jorgensen and junior Allison Bloom, went on an 11-0 run to push their lead to 16-3.

'That was incredibly bad,' Messenger said. 'We were getting out of our rotation.'

'We were hesitant and tentative with our serve receive,' Bosley added.

The Wolves, on a kill by Messenger, cut the margin to 19-11, but they couldn't get any closer as Sunset closed out its 25-12 second-game win.

The Apollos took their momentum into the third game, which they won 25-21 to go up two games to one in the best of five match.

But the Wolves were determined to come back.

Tualatin senior Ashton Bentz and Child each had a pair of kills to help the Timberwolves grab an early 6-4 lead in the fourth game. They never trailed the rest of the game, but they also couldn't shake the Apollos.

Sunset, in fact, tied the at 14-14. But that's when Tualatin took off again. Senior middle blocker Sarah Kirsch had a pair of kills, both off of sets by Bosley, and Holloran had a pair of points on serve to help the Wolves jump to a 19-15 lead. The Tualatin advantage was down to 22-21 when Child had two kills off Bosley sets and a block to score the final three points of the 25-21 fourth-game win.

In the fifth and deciding game, played to 15 points, Sunset claimed a quick 4-2 lead after back-to-back kills by Jorgensen and Groom. Tualatin came back to tie the game, at 6-6, on a kill by Kirsch off a Bosley set. The Wolves then took their first lead of the game, at 7-6, when Bosley set Messenger for a kill.

Another kill by Messenger gave Tualatin a 10-9 lead. The Wolves went on to take a 13-11 lead. A kill by Child off a Bosley set made the score 14-11. Bosley then came up with an ace, on a serve that hit the net and went over, to wrap up the 15-11 fifth-game win and, with it, the victory for the Wolves.

'That happens every once in awhile,' Bosley said of her victory-clinching ace serve. 'This match was extremely intense.'

Messenger had 15 kills for Tualatin in the win. Bosley also got Child, Holloran, Bentz and Kirsch all involved.

'That's so much fun for me,' Bosley said. 'Their kills, and the expressions on their faces, are great.'

Tualatin was scheduled to return to league action with a home match with Forest Grove on Wednesday.

Results of that match weren't available when the Times went to press.

The Wolves will have a key league contest on Tuesday when they play at Canby starting at 6:15 p.m.

'We want to do our best against Canby,' Bosley said.