The Pioneers overcame a tough defeat on Tuesday and won on Thursday

by: KRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Outside hitter Sydnie Robertson, above, goes for the kill in Sandys 3-1 win over the Wilsonville Wildcats last Thursday at Sandy High School.

Other leads this season have slipped away, but last Thursday, Sandy adamantly closed the door — and possibly turned a corner in the process.

Seeking their second win of the year and in league play, the Pioneers erased the memories of prior matches and marched on to a four-set victory (26-24, 27-25, 18-25, 25-15) over Wilsonville at Sandy High School.

Fittingly, Sandy battled its way to a two-set lead to open the match, just as it had two days earlier against Milwaukie. But in that match, the Pioneers were somewhat uncontested during the first two sets.

They corralled a couple of easy wins and seemed destined for a routine three-set victory. But after losing the next two sets, the confidence was gone, and the Mustangs took the final set 15-3.

Obviously, it was a tough reality to face, but afterward, a conversation took place that hopefully changed the course of the season.

“We finally realized that the mental part is the biggest part of it,” Sandy’s Alex Ford said. “We came into the game thinking it was over with. We had a big talk and realized that we need to stay up and positive, because the more positive we play, it shows.”

Sandy proved there were no lingering effects, with the resolve it showed in the first set against Wilsonville.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 15-9 lead before the Pioneers started climbing back into the set. There was some strong serving by Kayla Anderson, and eventually Sandy tied the set at 19-19 with a block by Ford.

At the point the sophomore took over the match. Tied at 23-23, Ford put her team on set-point with one of her 17 kills in the match. Later, she won the set with another kill. And Sandy didn’t overlook the achievement of winning the first set.

“We have had trouble winning,” Ford said. “We’re usually never able to pull off the first game. I feel that set the tone, us winning the first game.”

The second set was similar to the first; Wilsonville would threaten to pull away, but Sandy rally from behind. The Pioneers did work the game to set point, 24-22, but the Wildcats won the next two points to tie.

Later, Ford was clutch again with a kill to give Sandy a 26-25 lead before winning the set on the next point.

It was at this point against Milwaukie that the Pioneers let the match slip away. And oddly enough, Sandy dropped the third set by the same score in the same set against the Mustangs, 25-18. But this time, the Pioneers commanded the fourth set and won the match, 25-15.

“This match was the exact opposite of Tuesday’s,” Sandy coach Chris Meyers said. “We never doubted ourselves, we never got down on ourselves, and we played tremendous team volleyball. It was clear that the girls recognized what they had done to themselves the previous match and were not going to allow it to happen again.”


In addition to Alex Ford’s 17 kills, Bekah Mather had seven. After an impressive 12 aces during Tuesday’s loss to Milwaukie, Kayla Anderson had another big effort with 10 aces. Kenzie Nolin and 18 assists, while Bella Bryant had 17.

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