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Lion volleyball shuts down Sandy

St. Helens has won 27 of their last 30 sets.


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior libero Madison Kaplan gets under a serve in the second set against the Sandy Pioneers on Tuesday evening. Kaplan is part of a dominant senior class that makes up six of the 12 spots on this season's roster.The St. Helens Lady Lions picked up yet another win on the home volleyball court on Tuesday night, smashing past Sandy (7-8, 4-5 NWOC) in straight sets, downing the Pioneers 25-21, 25-9, 25-16 for the No. 2 Lions' 12th consecutive victory over all. St. Helens (15-2, 9-0 NWOC) have dropped only eight sets all season, second only to No. 1 West Albany, who has lost five.

Before the game had even started, head coach Tom Ray had a good feeling.

“(Sandy) had better be ready,” he said.

They weren't.

The Lions pounced early, and though Sandy was able to hang around for part of the first set, the home team got to be far too much.

“The first game, it kinda takes them a little while to get going, but once they go... team's just can't stop Gabby (Susee),” said Ray.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Seniors Kylie Reinholdt (left) and Gabby Susee (right) share a humorous moment after Susee sent a kill into the face of a Sandy player in the third set. Midway through the third set, Susee rose and sent the ball rocketing over the net, where it collided with the face of Sandy's unfortunate McKenzie Nolin. As the Lion students shouted with glee, Susee turned and sheepishly sidled back toward the gaggle of girls behind her on the court. Her target was fine after a few moments' pause, but according to Ray, people had better watch out.

“That's happened every match,” said Ray. “Every league team, somebody's gotten hit. Hit right smack in the face. That was the hardest one, though.”

The Lions dominated the second set. Defensive adjustments sent just about every Pioneer attempt into the sure hands of Susee or junior teammate Taylor Albertson, who turned Sandy mistakes into point after point, adding up to a crushing 25-9 victory in the second game.

The third set was more of the same. After a slow start, St. Helens pulled away, building a quick lead at 9-2 and silencing the Pioneers by a final score of 25-16 to wrap up a match against what Ray said was a good team.

The Lions are beginning to wind down their regular season schedule, with just five matches remaining. Up next, St. Helens will face Milwaukie (0-12, 0-9 NWOC), who has yet to win a set this season in 33 attempts.

For more coverage of the St. Helens Lady Lions, check out the Oct. 11 edition in print where Tom Ray will make a big prediction - only in the Spotlight.

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