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Tigers turn it up to get win over Wolves

Volleyball: Tigard rallies after fired-up Tualatin gets a victory in the opening game
by: DAN BROOD WE DID IT — The Tigard High School volleyball team starts celebrating after scoring the final point in its 19-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-17 victory over Tualatin in a Pacific Conference match last Thursday.

TUALATIN - Smiles.

They were all around.

The Tualatin volleyball team was smiling. That's because the Timberwolves put forth a strong effort while showing their rivals how much they've improved.

The Tigard volleyball squad was also smiling. And the Tigers' smiles were a bit bigger and brighter.

That's because Tigard, turning in a robust performance, battled its way to a 19-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-17 win over the Wolves in a hard-fought Pacific Conference match played last Thursday at Tualatin High.

'This is huge,' Tigard senior middle blocker Bonnie Blood said after the match. 'They're always our biggest rival, and it's so awesome to beat them. But they've improved so much.'

Tualatin, which was swept in both of its league matches with Tigard last year, moved to 3-1 in Pacific Conference play at that point with the setback.

'We kept up with them,' Tualatin junior outside hitter Maddi Powelson said. 'Last year, we didn't win a game against them. We had so much more energy tonight.'

With the victory, Tigard improved to 3-1 in league matches, putting the Tigers in a tie with Tualatin for second place in the standings behind league-leading Century.

'This was a big win,' Tigard senior setter Lauren Becker said. 'They're our rivals, so it's a great win.'

But the Tigers had to fight off a determined, fast-starting Tualatin squad to get that win.

Tualatin got off to a sprinting start to the match, claiming an early 5-1 lead in the opening game following a pair of ace serves by junior Megan Lundgreen.

The Wolves kept the lead throughout the first game. They went up 9-4 on an ace serve by senior Jordyn Skinner. They pushed the lead to 16-9 after senior Jen Stein scored on a tip off a set by senior Katie Nolan and then increased the margin to 19-11 on a tip by senior Megan Kleven.

Tigard tried to battle its way back into the game. With sophomore Lindsey Rosette serving, the Tigers, getting a kill by junior Valerie Hughes off a set by Becker and a block by Blood, scored five straight points to trim the Tualatin lead to 20-17.

But the Tigers couldn't get any closer. Tualatin, getting a tip by Nolan and kills by Powelson and junior Claire Bange, closed out the 25-19 first-game win.

'The defense did a great job getting the balls up,' Powelson said of the opening game. 'And we got momentum.'

The Wolves carried that momentum over to the early part of the second game, as they took a 2-0 lead following another ace by Lundgreen.

But Tigard came storming back. The Tigers took a 4-3 lead, their first lead of the night, on a block by senior Kylee Rosette - and they took off from there.

Behind strong serving by Kylee Rosette and Becker, and with Blood scoring on a block, Tigard pushed the lead to 16-10.

But then it was Tualatin's turn to rally.

With Powelson serving, Tualatin scored four straight points, two coming on kills by Bange, to trim the margin to 16-15.

But Tigard answered back and pulled away. Blood had a pair of blocks and a kill down the stretch as Tigard put away the 25-20 win in the second game of the match.

'After the first game, we knew we had to pull together,' Becker said.

The Tigers also seemed to pull together in a big way in the third game of the match. Down 5-3, Tigard, with Lindsey Rosette serving, scored six straight points to take a 9-5 lead. Hughes came up big for the Tigers in the scoring spree with a pair of kills and a block.

Tigard, with Hughes serving, put together another big scoring string later in the match. Kylee Rosette had back-to-back blocks and Lindsey Rosette added a kill to help Tigard up the margin to 17-8.

'I like the Rosette sisters,' Blood said with a smile.

Senior Hannah Coursolle served three straight points for Tigard and Blood added a late kill as Tigard closed out the 25-13 third-game win.

The fourth game was close for most of the game. Tigard, getting a kill by Hughes, took a 16-14 lead. The Tigers then upped the lead to 20-16 following another kill by Hughes and a block by Kylee Rosette.

Coursolle then served the final four points, recording an ace to go with a back-row point by junior Cassidy Freeman and a match-ending kill by Kylee Rosette to win the game 25-17.

'We had good communication and good passing,' Becker said. 'And our crowd was great. We love our fans.'

'Our passing has improved so much,' Blood said. 'And Lauren did a great job setting.'

'That was a very good match,' Tigard coach Rob Coelho said. 'They had a real good first game. This league is going to be like that. We were lucky to get by tonight. That was a fun one.'

'We're on our way up,' Tualatin coach Ben Stern said. 'We got off to a real good start, but they did a good job with their offense.'