Estacada beats Scappoose in four sets in its play-in qualifier match

by: ESTACADA NEWS: DAVID BALL - Estacadas Tori Johnson rises up in the middle for a kill attempt during last weeks play-in match.Estacada’s volleyball team punched its ticket to the 4A state playoffs with a four-set qualifier win over Scappoose last week.

The Rangers avoided a Game 5 showdown by dominating action in the fourth set with Mackenzie Gipple setting the tone by serving out four straight points to start the game.

“It was important to come in strong and with confidence,” Gipple said. “I just told myself I was going to hit aces, and we were able to keep the momentum going.”

The margin quickly grew to a 13-7 lead after Jessica Wheeler put up back-to-back blocks on big swings from Indians’ heavy hitter Abby Kessi.

“I would watch their shoulders and see which way they were hitting the ball, then I’d just go up strong,” Wheeler said.

Estacada forced five first-serve sideouts to stall the Scappoose attack and build a 15-9 lead at the end of the first rotation.

The Indians pulled to within two points only to see Estacada regain command with a service run by Tori Johnson that included a pair of aces, along with a Scappoose return that sailed long.

“I kept finding their weak spots and serving to those,” Johnson said.

The Rangers kept up the pressure when Sarah Davies came down from a block attempt, twisted her body and lunged to her side to dig a ball out of the front row. Moments later, she was poised for an attack of her own, burying a kill in the center of the Scappoose court for a 22-15 lead.

The Indians would fight off three match points, but the mountain was simply too high to climb. Estacada ended play with Bri Wood sending a shot over that Scappoose would return into the net.

“I was impressed with the way that Scappoose never gave up, but deep down I never thought we’d lose it,” Estacada coach Shawna Lippert said.

The Rangers were on the verge of a sweep after overcoming four lead changes to claim the second set 25-19. Trailing by a point at the end of the first rotation, Estacada moved in front for good when Davies spun a serve down in the front row. Wheeler followed with a kill shot into the back corner, and Gipple added an ace.

Estacada took full command when a Scappoose pass floated over the middle, and Ashley Teel rose high above the net to put away a kill for a 23-18 lead. A pair of errant hits by the Indians ended the set.

Johnson led the Rangers with 11 kills and three blocks, while Davies and Wheeler finished with eight kills apiece. Gipple ended the night with a mistake-free service night, scoring with three aces and coming up with a tam-high 17 digs.

• The play-in victory put the Rangers into the 4A playoff bracket where they dropped a hard-fought five-set decision Saturday at No. 3-seed Hidden Valley. The Rangers pulled even with a lopsided 25-15 win in the fourth set, only to fall 15-6 in the finale.

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