Volleyball: Sherwood tunes up for playoffs with a Senior Night victory over Putnam
by: DAN BROOD OVER THE NET — Sherwood High  School junior Kathryn Groenweghe (left) hits the ball hard at Putnam’s Lindsay Bartholomew in last week’s match.

SHERWOOD - Last week's Senior Night seemed to be pretty special to some players on the Sherwood High School volleyball team.

Now, the defending state-champion Lady Bowmen are hoping to put together another special run in postseason play.

Sherwood, which ended its regular-season schedule by scoring a 25-13, 25-10, 25-13 win over Putnam in a Northwest Oregon Conference match played last Thursday at Sherwood High School, are taking high hopes into the Class 5A state playoffs.

'We're excited for the playoffs,' Sherwood senior middle blocker Megan Foote said following the Lady Bowmen's win over Putnam. 'I'm hoping we can get to the state tournament again. I think we can.'

Sherwood, which clinched a spot in the state playoffs by scoring a 25-18, 25-6, 25-9 home win over Sandy in a Class 5A play-in round match on Tuesday, will play for a state tournament berth on Saturday when it hosts Willamette in a Class 5A state playoff match set to start at 5 p.m. at Sherwood High School.

'We're all so excited for the playoffs,' Sherwood senior outside hitter Hailey Codling said following the win over Putnam. 'We've got a lot of energy and we're ready to kick some butt.'

And, well, that's exactly what the Lady Bowmen did last Thursday against Putnam on Senior Night.

'This was really fun, and emotional,' Foote said. 'Tonight was really cool and really special.'

Sherwood got off to a blazing start to last week's match. An ace serve by senior Bailey Hutchinson followed by a kill by Foote, coming of a set by senior Mari Mandel, gave the Lady Bowmen a quick 6-1 lead in the opening game.

Putnam, behind the serving of junior Amanda Burge, rallied to tie the game at 8-8, but the Bowmen took charge again.

Sherwood regained the lead, at 9-8, when junior Kathryn Groenweghe scored on a kill off a set by sophomore Danielle LeBlanc. Two more kills by Groenweghe, a kill by Hutchinson and back-to-back kills by Foote helped the Lady Bowmen open up a 15-10 advantage.

Three more kills by Foote and one by Hutchinson helped Sherwood up the margin to 20-13. Then, with Foote serving, the Lady Bowmen ended the game with five straight points, closing out their 25-13 first-game victory.

The Bowmen didn't let up in the second game.

With LeBlanc coming up with an ace serve and with Codling having a pair of kills, Sherwood sprinted off to a 5-0 lead.

Codling got a point on serve and junior Jessie Koster had a kill to up the margin to 9-3.

Leading 14-7, the Lady Bowmen went on another scoring spree.

With Codling serving, Sherwood scored nine straight points up make the score 23-7. Codling had a pair of aces and Foote had a kill and a block during the run.

Soon after, the Lady Bowmen closed out the 25-10 second-game victory.

The inspired Sherwood squad kept up the high tempo in the third game.

The Bowmen, already ahead 8-4, went on an eight-point scoring run behind the serving of senior Kim Schroeder to push the lead to 16-4.

Groenweghe had two kills and a block during the scoring spree, which also included a pair of kills by junior Hannah Wade.

Putnam, not giving up, trimmed the lead to 18-11 on a tip by junior Lindsay Bartholomew. But the visitors couldn't get any closer.

With LeBlanc serving, Sherwood scored three straight points t open a 22-11 lead. From there, a pair of kills by Foote helped the Lady Bowmen get the 25-13 third-game win, sweeping the match.

'We were just filled with energy,' Foote said. 'We were all wild out there on the court. When we're having fun is when we play our best.'

'We were super excited all day,' Codling said. 'We're so bonded up. We've really come together as a team.'

Now, that team is looking to keep playing as long as it can.

'We want to keep the dream alive,' Sherwood coach Emily Gustafson said. 'We talked back in August about having a goal to play as far into November that we can. Now, we're really gearing up.'

In the win over Sandy, Foote had eight kills while Koster and Groenweghe each had seven. Groenweghe also had three blocks while Hutchison had five ace serves.

The winner of Saturday's state playoff match at Sherwood advances to play in the Class 5A state tournament, which starts Nov. 11 at Liberty High.

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