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The Wildcats start fast, hold on to beat Southridge

Westview rolls through two games, loses two games, then wins game five
by: Miles Vance FOR THE DEFENSE — Westview senior Allie George makes a return during her team's Tuesday victory over Southridge at Southridge High School.

BEAVERTON - Call it the battle of the compass.

Or maybe 'View vs. Ridge.'

In any case, Westview's volleyball team put an exclamation point on the end of its regular season, battling past Southridge 25-18, 25-12, 24-26, 21-25, 15-12 at Southridge High School on Tuesday evening. The win ended the Wildcats' regular season at 4-6 in Metro play (15-11 overall) and fourth, while the Skyhawks finished at 2-8 and fifth in league (8-16 overall). Both teams will next play in the Class 6A Play-In round, with opponents and match times yet to be determined, on Wednesday.

'When we have intensity on our side of the court, things just start getting rolling and we pull together as a team,' said Westview senior outside hitter Chazarae Gaspar. 'We're going to make some noise in November.'

Likewise, the Skyhawks were proud of the way they'd pushed Westview on Tuesday and convinced that they could make a run in the postseason.

'We just need to get on our 'A' game,' said Southridge sophomore outside hitter Nicole Rigoni. 'I think we can do some damage in the playoffs.'

'We're ready for the playoffs, and to prove ourselves,' added Southridge junior middle blocker Kelli Derrah.

In Tuesday's first two games, Westview used its strong serving, accurate passing, and the powerful hitting of senior Jackie Stein, Gaspar and junior Sydney Blankinship to keep the Skyhawks at arm's length.

The Wildcats were especially impressive in game two, with Blankinship serving an early five-point run that extended Westview's lead to 10-2. Southridge got no closer than seven points the rest of the way, with Gaspar serving a five-point run that included three Stein kills, and the Cats pulling away to win 25-12.

'That was all because we had good passes,' Stein said. 'Good passes plus good sets equal good hits. We worked together as a team.'

'The first two games, we were getting really good passes, we were running our offense pretty well and serving them pretty much off the court,' Gaspar said. 'It was teamwork, definitely, and energy.'

'In the first two games, we couldn't really adjust to their tough serving,' Rigoni added. 'They served really tough at us and we didn't serve very well.'

But the Skyhawks rallied in game three and led 17-11 on a Kelly McClean ace, then pushed that edge to 22-13 on a Rigoni ace two rotations later.

Westview came back with Loren Losli at the service line, serving her team back within 22-21 thanks to three aces and two Stein kills, and the Wildcats then tied the game at 24-24 when Gaspar blocked an attack by Alexa Basauri. But Basauri won a sideout with a tip, and Westview committed errors on the next two points of Southridge's 26-24 win.

Game four followed a similar arc, with Westview still dead-even at 18-18 when McClean missed a serve, but the Skyhawks pulling away down the stretch. One rotation later, Derrah served an ace and Rigoni followed with a kill to make it 21-18, Bethany Kosmowski connected to make it 22-20, Basauri scored on back-to-back tips for a 24-20 lead and did it again for the 25-21 win.

'In the second two games, we played really good defense and our hitters were doing their jobs,' Rigoni said.

Westview didn't let this one get away, though. In game five, the Wildcats pulled ahead 8-7 when Stein went crosscourt from the left side, boosted that lead to 13-9 on an Allie George ace, kept its edge at 14-11 on a Blankinship kill, and won on a Southridge hitting error.

'We just really wanted it,' Stein said. 'We stepped up our game and pulled it together.'

'We got our act together, but as a team, we just couldn't pull it out,' Rigoni said. 'But in that fifth game, we just made some crucial errors and things didn't go our way.'

'There were a lot of things we could have taken care of (in the fifth game) that we didn't,' Derrah added.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.