The team is hoping to hit on all cylinders as it gets ready for postseason play
BEAVERTON - Valley Catholic's volleyball team isn't quite there.
But the year isn't over yet and the Valiants are still hopeful that 2006 may turn out to be another very, very good year.
Valley Catholic won for the fifth time in its past six District 2 matches Tuesday night, racing past last-place Colton 25-17, 25-14, 25-13 at Valley Catholic High School and improving to 8-3 in the process. That mark kept the Valiants three matches behind league-leading Gervais and tied with Willamina for second place.
And while Valley Catholic's Tuesday win was easy enough, the Valiants are more focused on improving themselves to get ready for what they hope is a long playoff run.
'We have a young team so we know our potential but we have yet to show it,' said junior outside hitter Marybeth Wikander, one of just four returners from last year Tri-Valley League championship team. 'We have to earn it.'
'We're getting to the very end where we have to get to our high-
est peak so we can get into the tournament,' said senior setter Caitlin Rosetti. 'We want this team to play to (its) full highest potential and play our hardest and
show everybody what we can do.'
For coach Nolan Hee, it's just a matter of pushing the right buttons with his young team to make sure the Valiants are ready for the post-season.
'It's just fine-tuning right now,' Hee said. 'We've made it this far. We're trying new things. We're still trying to find a lineup that's going to be the one that we're going to be using.'
In Tuesday's match, the Valiants didn't really get into gear until game two. In the opening game, Colton stayed close thanks to six missed serves by Valley Catholic and trailed just 15-14 before the Valiants finally took control.
Taylor VanDomelen got things going with a cross-court kill and Melanie Rosetti followed with two aces to boost VC's lead to 18-14. The Valiants added another three-point run behind two VanDomelen kills to lead 21-15, and closed out the contest on a Caitlin Rosetti ace.
Energized by their strong finish, the Valiants hit the ground running in game two. They ripped off eight straight points (two of those on aces) with Caitlin Rosetti at the service line to push ahead 9-2. Colton managed a couple points to get within 10-4, but Valley answered with four straight points, including a Wikander ace and a Kaly Mueller kill, to lead 14-4.
Colton got within eight points twice after that, the last time on a missed serve by VanDomelen at 18-10, but the Valiants rolled home after that, finishing their win with two Sami Picken aces and a Mueller tip.
Game three followed a similar course, with VC racing out to lead 9-3 behind two Melanie Rosetti kills, the Vikings closing within 9-4, and the Valiants pulling away from there. VanDomelen notched two aces down the stretch and Wikander added three kills among her team's final five points.
'At the beginning, we kind of wanted to get done quickly so we were kind of agitated, but towards the second and third games, we calmed it down and played our game,' Wikander said.
And if the Valiants can continue that trend, they may indeed recapture some of the magic the team had last year when Valley Catholic finished fifth at the Class 3A state tournament.
'We have the potential to go to state,' Caitlin Rosetti said. 'Hopefully we'll do it. And I think we have the potential to stay with Gervais and maybe even go third or fourth in state.'