Volleyball: The Lady Bowmen sweep Parkrose to move to 4-1 in league matches
by: DAN BROOD OVER THE NET — Sherwood sophomore Hannah Valesano goes up high to hit a shot in Tuesday’s game.

PARKROSE - It took a little while for the Sherwood High School volleyball team to get going.

But, once the Lady Bowmen got rolling, there seemed to be no stopping them.

Sherwood, after getting off to a sluggish start, powered its way to a 25-23, 25-15, 25-19 win over Parkrose in a Northwest Oregon Conference match played Tuesday at Parkrose High School.

'This was a big win. We needed this,' Sherwood senior libero Ellie Drain said after the match. 'Since we're a new team this year, we're still trying to prove ourselves.'

Parkrose dropped to 2-3 in league matches with the setback. Sherwood, which has just a few returning players from last year's squad that won the Class 5A state championship, improved to 4-1 in NWOC play with the victory, keeping the Lady Bowmen in a tie with Wilsonville for second place in the league standings.

'We've got a target on our backs this year,' Sherwood junior outside hitter Jessie Koster said. 'We have to play hard every game.'

The Lady Bowmen may have been playing hard at the start of Tuesday's match, but they certainly weren't playing flawlessly.

After scoring the first point of the contest, Sherwood watched the Broncos roll off six straight points to take a 6-1 lead in the opening game of the match.

'We made a lot of unforced errors,' Sherwood coach Emily Gustafson said.

And it took some time for the Lady Bowmen to overcome those errors, and Parkrose's early lead.

Sherwood found itself trailing 15-10 after Parkrose got a kill from senior Justine Shepard. The Broncos, after getting a point on a tip by senior Brittany Shook, went up 19-15.

But that's when the Lady Bowmen started to get things going their way.

A kill by senior Megan Foote off a set by sophomore Danielle LeBlanc and an ace serve by Koster got Sherwood within two, at 19-17.

The Lady Bowmen closed the gap to one, at 20-19, on a kill by junior middle blocker Kathryn Groenweghe off a set by LeBlanc. Another kill by Groenweghe tied the game at 20-20.

Sherwood was then able to take its first lead of the game since the opening point, at 22-21, on a point on serve by LeBlanc.

With the score tied at 23-23, Sherwood moved within one point of winning the game after the Broncos committed an error. The Lady Bowmen then wrapped up the 25-23 first-game win on a tip by Foote.

'Communication is the key for us,' Drain said. 'We started off flat, but once we started talking, we were fine.'

And the Lady Bowmen looked to be more than fine in the final two games of the match.

In the second game of the contest, Sherwood broke a 5-5 when senior Hailey Codling put down a kill off a set by LeBlanc. The Lady Bowmen took off from there.

With Drain serving, Sherwood scored eight straight points to take a 14-5 lead. Foote started a four-point scoring spree with an ace serve, helping the Bowmen go up 22-10.

Parkrose closed the gap to 23-15, but Sherwood, getting a kill by Groenweghe and a point on serve by Koster, closed out the 25-15 second-game win.

Sherwood carried its momentum into the third game of the match. Groenweghe had three kills in a six-point span and Koster added a kill off a LeBlanc set to give the Lady Bowmen an 11-5 lead.

Parkrose came back strong to trim the margin to one, at 18-17, but the Broncos couldn't get the equalizer.

Sherwood answered with a four-point scoring spree, which included a kill by Groenweghe and a tip by Koster, giving the Lady Bowmen a 22-17 lead.

From there, kills by Koster, Groenweghe and Codling helped the Lady Bowmen close out the 25-19 third-game win.

'I think we were more relaxed,' Koster said. 'We had more heart in those last two games.'

'We put everything we have out there every game,' Drain added.

'Once we eliminated the errors, we were OK,' Gustafson said. 'We're still using different line-ups and trying to figure out who goes where. We're still learning to play together, but we have moments of good volleyball. We just need to sustain that.'

Prior to the win at Parkrose, Sherwood posted a 25-17, 25-15, 25-15 victory over Milwaukie in a match played last Thursday at Milwaukie High School.

The Lady Bowmen will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when they host Wilsonville in a league match starting at 6:45 p.m. Sherwood will play at the South Albany tournament on Saturday and then play at Putnam Tuesday in a league match starting at 6:45 p.m.

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