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Sherwood claims a tourney trophy

Volleyball: Lady Bowmen finish with a victory at the Class 5A state tournament
by: DAN BROOD GOOD TIMES — Sherwood’s Danielle LeBlanc (3), Hailey Codling (7) and Kathryn Groenweghe celebrate after scoring a point in the Class 5A state tournament quarterfinal match against Marshfield.

HILLSBORO - The Sherwood High School volleyball team wasn't able to repeat as Class 5A state champion.

But the Lady Bowmen went out with a win - and with a trophy.

And they were pretty happy about that.

Sherwood ended its season by scoring a 25-15, 17-25, 25-23, 25-11 win over Churchill in the third-place match of the Class 5A state tournament Saturday at Liberty High School.

'That means a lot to us,' Sherwood senior outside hitter Hailey Codling said. 'It was a great accomplishment after how many people we lost last year. We made it fun and the seniors stepped up.'

'It meant a lot,' Sherwood senior libero Ellie Drain said. 'We had high hopes. We're happy with third place and I'm so proud of our team. It's really rewarding in a bunch of different ways. We lost a lot of players from last year's team, but we also gained good players. I think even the seniors grew a lot. We all wanted the team to do well and we had a lot of fun.'

Sherwood, which won its state tournament quarterfinal match with Marshfield Friday afternoon and then fell to West Albany in the semifinal round Friday night, finished its season with a final overall record of 20-6.

'It was a nice way to go out,' Sherwood coach Emily Gustafson said. 'We had a different group of kids this year and they really bonded. It was about getting that camaraderie. And I think we peaked at the right time.'

The Lady Bowmen, who earned a state-tournament bid by winning a five-game state-playoff thriller with Willamette, found themselves in another nail-biter to start he state tournament as they opened tourney play by scoring a 17-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-25, 15-11 win over Marshfield in Friday's quarterfinal match.

'That was really exciting,' Sherwood sophomore setter Danielle LeBlanc said after that match. 'That was so much fun. There's nothing better.'

'These are so much fun,' Sherwood junior outside hitter Jessie Koster said. 'This is what we play for. It was crazy.'

The Lady Bowmen, in the first game with Marshfield, were possibly battling a case of opening-match jitters as they fell 25-17 to the Pirates.

'In the first game at state, it always seems to be crush or get crushed,' Gustafson said.

The Lady Bowmen also found themselves trailing in the second game of the match as Marshfield grabbed a quick 5-3 lead.

But Sherwood, with junior Kayla Shearer serving, came back to tie the game at 6-6 on a kill by junior middle blocker Kathryn Groenweghe. The Lady Bowmen took off from there. Shearer had an ace and Groenweghe followed with four straight points, on two kills, a tip and a block, to help Sherwood take an 11-6 lead.

Later in the game, with Koster serving, Sherwood scored three more unanswered points to up its lead to 19-11.

Marshfield closed the gap to 20-17 on a kill by senior Kara Young, but Sherwood wouldn't let the Pirates get any closer.

The Lady Bowmen, getting a block by Codling, a tip by Groenweghe and then back-to-back kills by senior middle blocker Megan Foote, closed out the 25-21 Sherwood win.

The Lady Bowmen carried their momentum into the third game of the match. They kook a 4-3 lead on a kill by Codling off a set by LeBlanc, and they didn't trail again the rest of the game.

An ace serve by Koster gave Sherwood a 6-3 lead. A kill by Codling and consecutive kills by Groenweghe, all off sets by LeBlanc, pushed the margin to 13-6.

Marshfield was able to battle its way back into the game, cutting the lead to 21-19 on a kill by junior Peyton Babb, but Sherwood wouldn't be denied. The Lady Bowmen, getting a pair of kills by Foote, upped the lead to 24-21. From there, a Marshfield hitting error gave Sherwood its second straight 25-21 win.

But, now it was Marshfield's turn to answer back. In the fourth game of the match, the Pirates sprinted out to a 4-0 lead on their way to a 4-0 lead on their way to posting a 25-15 win. That sent the match to a decisive fifth game.

The Pirates grabbed control in the early going of the fifth game, taking leads of 5-3 and 6-4. Sherwood came back to tie the game at 6-6 on a kill by Groenweghe. The Lady Bowmen then claimed a 10-8 lead behind three straight ace serves by Codling.

Sherwood went on to push the lead to 13-10 behind back-to-back kills by Foote and Koster. With the score 14-11, the Lady Bowmen closed out the match with another kill by Foote.

'What put us ahead is that we wanted this so bad,' LeBlanc said. 'We really, really wanted it.'

'We had no doubts,' Koster said. 'We all believed we could do it.'

But the Lady Bowmen couldn't keep it going later on Friday when they fell 25-14, 25-23, 25-23 to West Albany in the semifinals.

That made Saturday's third-place match more important to Sherwood.

'After the semifinals, we had a big talk,' Drain said. 'We all said we wanted to play well and finish with a win.'

'We threw in everything we had,' Codling said. 'We were upset after we lost in the semifinals, so we had to take care of business.'

And that's just was Sherwood did as it powered its way to the win over Churchill.

'We were able to really put it together for our last match,' Gustafson said. 'We were really hungry for that one.'

'It was important to us to finish with a win,' Codling said. 'The seniors really wanted to end on a good note.'

Foote and Drain were both named to the all-tournament first team. Groenweghe was a second-team all-tournament selection.

Other members of the Sherwood team include junior Hannah Wade, senior Kim Schroeder, sophomore Hannah Valesano, senior Bailey Hutchinson and senior Mari Mandel. Jodi Moore, Nicole Kludt and Sarah Coburn are assistant coaches.