Warriors take third at state in their best season ever

Aloha makes history by taking third place at the 6A state tournament
by: Miles Vance WINNING — Aloha senior Amy Boswell reacts to winning a point in her team's victory over Roseburg in the Class 6A state volleyball tournament at Liberty High School on Friday.

HILLSBORO - The Warriors may have finished third in the 2011 Class 6A state volleyball tournament, but back at home, Aloha is indisputably No. 1.

Aloha, after winning a Metro League co-championship this year and snapping Jesuit's 13-year league winning streak along the way, made its year even more memorable at state. By going 2-1 in the tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Liberty High School, the 2011 Warriors cemented their place as the best volleyball team in school history.

In addition to their league championship and win over Jesuit, the Warriors - led by head coach Kellie Scholl and assistant Janelle Brandt - posted their best finish ever at state and won the school's first tournament trophy.

'It's really exciting,' said senior setter/middle blocker Amanda Goringe, a first-team all-tournament pick. 'Being a senior and it being our last year, it's fun to end our high school careers this way.'

'We all knew this was the year to do it,' added senior setter/middle blocker Amy Boswell, another first-team all-tournament pick. 'All the hard work we put in, we had to make it pull together.'

The Warriors (22-6) opened the tournament with a four-game win over Southern Oregon Conference champion Roseburg (26-6), dropping the first game 16-25, then catching fire and winning the next three 25-20, 30-28 and 25-20.

'Whenever we're down, we just come together as a team,' said senior middle blocker Tricia Nystrom. 'We're so much closer. We're all so tight, there's no panic.'

'Even in the third game, when we were down, we were like 'We're still going to get this. We're going to come back.' We do it all the time,' Goringe added.

Indeed, it was Aloha's grit and determination in the end of that long third game that likely spelled the difference in the match. Trailing 28-27, Aloha tied the game on a missed Roseburg serve, and from there, the Warriors got a kill by Goringe in the middle, and a bump return for the game-winning point by senior libero Danielle Jones.

'My libero and back players behind me called the shots perfectly and it was a kill every time,' Boswell said. 'Our back row players are amazing.'

That win set up a semifinal match-up on Friday night against two-time defending state champion Central Catholic (26-0), the unbeaten, top-ranked team in the state and eventual 2011 state champion.

Aloha came up on the short end of the score in that match - losing in three straight games 25-23, 25-16, 25-18 - but still made inroads against the talented Rams, senior star Martenne Bettendorf and her all-tournament teammates Camille Foster and Kailee Johnson.

While Central Catholic swept all three of its state opponents in three games, the Warriors - led again by Boswell and Goringe and also getting contributions from Jones, Nystrom, Victoria Henry, Jasmine Osborn, Natalie Parker and Jennifer Hilgeman - played the Rams closer than any other team.

'They're obviously an amazing team. They have been all year,' Boswell said. But I was 'excited to see what we could do against them.'

We knew 'we just needed to stick together and give everything we have,' Goringe added.

Then, in Saturday's third-place match against Three Rivers champ Clackamas (24-6), Aloha had to pull out all the stops to win its fourth five-game match of the year 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 20-25 and 15-11.

'We tried to show a lot of character and get that win,' Goringe said.

'We just tried hard all year, and tried to do the best we could,' Boswell said. 'I think we did that definitely.'

In the process, the 2011 Warriors made memories to last a lifetime and created a season that is the best in school history.

'We have such an amazing coaching staff and so many great girls, it was our year to do it,' Boswell said.

To see complete photo galleries from these games, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.