The Blue Jays earn the No. 5 seed for Fridays quarterfinals in Redmond

by: THE OUTLOOK: PARKER LEE - Portland Lutherans Kaitlin Howard pounds down a kill over two blockers during Saturdays second-round playoff win. Kaitlin Howard decided she was taking the Blue Jays to the state volleyball quarterfinals no matter what; they just had to hang on and enjoy the ride. The Portland Lutheran senior middle blocker completely dominated Monument/Dayville in Saturday’s second round match and led the Blue Jays to an effortless 3-0 sweep (25-7, 25-13, 25-15).

Monument/Dayville managed to stick around for a little while and trailed 7-5 in the first set, but then Howard turned it on. She overwhelmed the Tigers with her high-velocity hitting and she came up with a kill almost every time she spiked the ball.

After just a few points of trying, and failing miserably, to block Howard, the Tigers realized they didn’t have the height to contest her spikes. Instead, they dropped their blockers back each time a set went to her to increase their chances of digging out the hits. It didn’t help. Howard was hitting with so much power and accuracy that it made no difference how Monument/Dayville chose to defend her.

Behind Howard’s lethal attacking, the Blue Jays went on an 18-2 run to win the set by a staggering 18 points. In Game 2, it was more of the same. The Tigers kept it competitive initially, and got as close as 18-13, but Portland Lutheran scored the set’s final seven points.

The win bumped Portland Lutheran through to the quarterfinals as the No. 5 seed. The Blue Jays are set to face No. 4 Condon/Wheeler on Friday at 1:15 p.m. at Ridgeview High in Redmond.

Look for expanded match coverage in the Tuesday, Nov. 5, print edition.

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