Gresham rallies in the fifth set to get past Reynolds

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Gresham setter Jayde Folsom celebrates after winning a point during the Gophers five-set victory Tuesday night.

TROUTDALE — Gresham’s volleyball team had just passed the ball into the net to go down 11-8 in the fifth set against Reynolds on Tuesday night when Gophers’ assistant coach Matt Hartner came up with a plan.

He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted into the front row “Demand the ball.” The target of those words was senior outside hitter Haley Crouser. She responded with a big swing from the left side that whizzed down the line for a winner.

Before the next serve, Hartner was at it again “This ball is coming to you,” he informed Crouser, who once again buried a shot this time going cross-court through the heart of the Raiders defense.

Crouser’s barrage continued to match point with Gresham leading 14-12. Everyone in the gym knew where the next attack was coming from, but Reynolds was powerless to stop it even when it had players in position.

Gresham’s senior setter Jayde Folsom took the pass in front of the Gophers’ bench and punched the ball across the court where Crouser rose above the net and swung through hard, blasting a shot off two Reynolds blockers and down to the floor on the other side.

“We have certain kids who need to come through at crunch time,” Hartner said. “And we have the confidence that Haley can go up there and put the ball away against anybody.”

Gresham won seven of the last eight points for a must-win to stay in the chase for a top-half league finish.

Central Catholic (5-0) is the clear-cut favorite in the league this year, leaving a logjam of four teams — St. Mary’s, Reynolds, Gresham and Barlow — battling for runner-up honors. Two out of that group will get an automatic playoff spot, and two will be stuck with play-in status come Halloween.

Look for extended match coverage in the Friday, Sept. 28, edition of The Outlook.

View a photo gallery of the match at …

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