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Young Tigers seek consistency

Volleyball -- Tigard plays strong before being edged by Grizzlies in last week's match
by: DAN BROOD, AT THE NET — Tigard sophomore Stephanie Sieg (center) looks to hit the ball past McMinnville’s Heidi Buchheit in last week’s match. The Grizzlies won in four games.

TIGARD - Consistency.

The Tigard High School volleyball team is searching for some.

The Tigers didn't seem to find any during their match with McMinnville.

The young Tigard squad, which seemed to play very strong at times while struggling at other times, fell 25-9, 21-25, 25-20, 25-14 to the Grizzlies in a Pacific Conference match played Oct. 11 at Tigard High School.

'We just need to be more consistent,' Tigard senior outside hitter Laura Craig said after the match. 'Sometimes we're really on, and sometimes we aren't. It's encouraging because we know the potential is there. We know we can do it.'

With the loss, Tigard fell to 1-5 in league play at that point while McMinnville improved to 4-2. The Tigers still look to be in a battle with Forest Grove and Newberg for the league's final berth to the Class 6A state playoffs.

'We can still make a run for it,' Tigard coach Rob Coelho said.

McMinnville took control early in last week's match, winning the first game 25-9. The Grizzlies also led 11-8 in the second game before the Tigers got going.

Tigard stormed back to take a 12-11 lead on a tip by sophomore setter Dianni Freeman. Freshman Allie followed with an ace serve to up the Tiger advantage to 13-11.

McMinnville came back to tie the game at 13-13, but Tigard quickly regained the lead on a block by junior Alysha Brannon, and the Tigers wouldn't trail again the rest of the game.

Freeman had three aces in a four-serve span to help Tigard up the margin to 20-13. But the talented Grizzlies, getting back-to-back kills from junior Kimberly Van Dyke and sophomore Gabriella Ailstock, rallied to cut the lead to 20-18.

But the Tigers wouldn't be denied. They went up 22-18 on a tip by sophomore Stephanie Sieg and they held a 23-19 advantage following a kill by senior Amanda Stone. Tigard ended up getting the winning point in the 25-21 second-game victory on a McMinnville hitting error.

'We did really well in the second game,' Craig said.

Tigard's momentum carried over to the third game. The Tigers, getting a tip by Stone, a kill by Sieg and a pair of points on serve by junior Meredith Masters, jumped out to a 4-1 lead.

The Tigers were still leading, at 10-9, following a kill by Brannon off a set by sophomore Courtney Gehring. But the Grizzlies rallied to take a 14-13 advantage on a kill by Van Dyke.

McMinnville went on to push its third-game lead to 24-18. Tigard tried to rally, getting a point on serve by Moss and a point on a tip by Brannon to cut the margin to 24-20. But the Grizzlies scored the next point to get the 25-20 third-game win.

McMinnville, now with momentum on its side, took a fast 5-0 lead in the fourth game. However, the Tigers came storming back.

They got a kill by Stone off a set by Freeman, a block by Stone and a back-row kill by Craig to grab an 8-7 lead. But that would be the last lead for Tigard in the match.

McMinnville, on an ace serve by senior Katie Langlitz, claimed a 13-9 lead on its way to winning the fourth game 25-14, giving the Grizzlies the three-games-to-one victory for the match.

'We're young, but some of the younger girls are definitely getting batter,' Coelho said. 'They're the future.'

In the present, Tigard is still looking to earn a state playoff bid.

'That's a goal,' Craig said. 'We talk about it every day. We think we can do it. We have hopeful spirits.'

The Tigers' playoff chances took a bit of a hit on Tuesday as Tigard fell 25-27, 25-22, 6-25, 24-26 to Forest Grove in a match held at Forest Grove High School.

The Tigers will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when they face rival Tualatin in a Pacific Conference match starting at 6:15 p.m. at Tualatin High School.

On Tuesday, Tigard will be home to face Canby at 6:15 p.m.