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Trojans place fourth at state tournament

Kennedy rallies for two wins on tourneys second day


by: BILLY GATES - Junior Loghan Sprauer attempts to spike the ball over the net in Fridays loss against Weston-McEwen. by: BILLY GATES - Kennedy sophomore Lakin Susee sets the ball for a teammate in the Trojans first-round game against Weston-McEwen Friday. The Trojans went on to lose, but rebounded with a pair of victories in the consolation bracket to place fourth overall at the 2A OSAA state volleyball tournament.The Kennedy High School volleyball team entered last weekend’s state tournament with one goal – improve upon last year’s team that lost two straight games to finish the season and went home without a top-six placement.

The Trojans did just that Saturday, rallying against two higher-seeded teams in the span of half a day to take home fourth place in the 2013 OSAA 2A volleyball tournament.

“The first thing I want to say is how proud I am of my team,” said Madison Sprauer, one of four seniors on the team. “We went in there with nothing to lose, just wanting to do better than we did last year. We definitely earned our fourth-place trophy.”

It almost didn’t happen, though.

The Trojans entered the tournament Friday morning as the lowest-seeded team in the tournament at No. 8 and had to play against the No. 1-seeded Weston-McEwen TigerScots. The team quickly fell 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-17) in a lopsided loss that eliminated Kennedy from contention for a top-three finish and sent the team to the consolation bracket.

“The first game against Weston-McEwen, I don’t even know what that was,” said Sprauer. “We didn’t play like the team we had worked hard to become."

by: BILLY GATES - Junior Amelia Grosjacques sets the ball while Madison Sprauer (left) and Loghan Sprauer (behind) prepare for their next move.The team hadn’t experienced a loss that thorough since the first week of the season when they lost in three quick sets to the Tri-River League champion Culver Bulldogs. It was just the fifth loss of the season for Kennedy, and pushed the team into an elimination game against the the No. 5-seed Delphian Dragons.

The slump continued for the Trojans after the Dragons won the first set, but Kennedy found its rhythm in the next set and rallied in the next three to win 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-10, 25-17).

“The team really kicked it into gear once we started playing relaxed and mainly just to have fun,” said Sprauer.

With the victory over Delphian, Kennedy was assured of finishing no worse than sixth place, and the team had accomplished its primary goal. The win also meant a third game against the No. 6-seeded Portland Christian Lions, with fourth place on the line.

The team had a new goal, but once again, the Trojans found themselves with their backs against the wall. Portland Christian came out strong and won the first two sets of the game 25-20 and 25-22, respectively. Kennedy was on the verge of elimination before the team managed to rally once again.

The Trojans won the next two sets 25-18 and 25-23 to force a deciding fifth game, which the team took by a score of 15-13.

“We wanted the win, we battled, we gave it our all, and we took home fourth place,” said senior Emily Schmidt. “We played as a team, and I’m so proud of what we accomplished.”

“We may have had our ups and downs but all and all we worked hard and finally played to our ability,” said senior KC Boen.

The victory gave the Trojans their best season in recent memory. The team finished with a 22-5 record overall and a 14-2 record in the Tri-River Conference. Along with Sprauer, Schmidt and Boen, the team also will lose senior Carlie Grosjacques to graduation this spring.

“Overall, we had a very successful season,” said Schmidt. “It was a lot of fun and we really meshed well as a team, playing for each other and utilizing every talent.”

“We definitely earned our fourth-place trophy,” said Sprauer. “The team worked so hard this season to get where we did and we feel very privileged to be able to go to state for the second year in a row.”