Scappoose drops the first set to Tillamook, but wins the final three. They will play again on Saturday, most likely on the road against Estacada.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior outside hitter Morgan MacInnis celebrates a point in the first set. The initial game was the only one the Indians would lose, taking the final three sets to advance into the play-in round.It might not have been the prettiest victory, but Scappoose got it done when it counted most, winning the final three sets to knock off Tillamook 23-25,25-22, 25-12, 25-20 to advance past the Cheesemakers and in to the state play-in round.

The first set saw the Indians get off to a hot start, but not for long. Tillamook came racing back from a 6-1 deficit to tie the game at 10, and eventually taking a 22-19 lead. Head coach Mark Sprenger called a timeout, but could merely stem the tide as the Cheesemakers squeeked out a win in the first set.

Tillamook, who had won just one set from the Indians in their previous two meetings, had made major strides since their last face-off, according to Sprenger.

“I knew it wasn't going to be easy,” he said. “After game one, I just thought that we played sloppy. We had to clean up some things, and we did that. As the match progressed we got a little bit better.”

The second set started similar to the first. Scappoose jumped out early and pushed their advantage as the set continued until they held an 18-11 edge. Tillamook outscored Scappoose 11-5 over the next few minutes, but senior Abby Kessi tapped the ball over the net to put and end to the Cheesemaker's run and win the second set 25-22.

The fortunes changed for good early in the third set. Sprenger called an odd timeout just minutes into the set with the teams tied at two points a piece.

“I saw a huge opportunity to score a lot of points in that game,” said Sprenger, who instructed his players to change the area of attack when serving and hitting.

“They had a right side player we didn't feel could set the ball very good, and so we're going to hit it to their setter and make somebody else set the ball,” he said. “It's always a strategy to make a team's setter play defense and their non-setter set the ball.”

Sprenger's ploy worked, and the Indians dominated the third set 25-12, allowing just 10 points after the timeout. The third set momentum carried into the fourth, where Scappoose shrugged off the visitors with seven consecutive points to take a 23-17 lead after trailing by a point. Tillamook fought back, but the gap was too wide and Scappoose made it academic moments later.

It was just the first leg of the playoffs for Scappoose, who will be on the road for their next match on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. against Estacada for a chance to make it to the Class 4A 16-team bracket.

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