St. Helens downs Milwaukie, Parkrose, moves to tie for second in NWOC

The St. Helens Lady Lions volleyball team easily dispatched Sandy and Milwaukie last week, and moved into a tie for second in the Northwest Oregon Conference as Liberty lost to Parkrose.

The Lady Lions had very few problems against either Sandy or Milwaukie.

St. Helens won at Sandy, 25-18, 25-11, 25-16 on Tuesday. At Milwaukie Thursday night, they posted another three-game win 25-15, 25-12, 25-15.

“The key to our success is transition,” St. Helens Coach Tom Ray said. “If we move our feet from offense to defense quickly we win.”

Ray says he’s getting a good effort from all of the team.

“Jillian Ross continues to lead the team: keeping them focused during drills, during time-outs, and taking care of the little things,” he added. “Taylor (Albertson) and Gabby (Susee) are still ‘pounding’ the ball at defenses. Madison Kaplan and Megan Thompson are passing the ball to setters. Kali Moore is our ‘spark plug.’”

Just four matches remain on the regular season going into Tuesday’s match. St. Helens hosted last-place Wilsonville on Tuesday and should have come away with a win. Thursday they play a feisty Rex Putnam team that gave them a few problems in their last meeting, pushing the match to five games.

Next week will be the big one for St. Helens. They host Liberty Tuesday and with a win they could clinch second place in the NWOC. Liberty hosts 10-0 Sherwood this Thursday. If Liberty should win that game, the Lady Lions will have a shot at sneaking into a tie for the league title. If Liberty loses, they should be two games behind St. Helens. That would make St. Helens league finale at Sherwood on Thursday, Oct. 25 moot.

Regardless of what happens, St. Helens is headed to the play-in round and could advance into the state playoffs.

The top eight teams in the rankings qualify for the state playoffs (the round past play-ins). The other teams, ranked 9-24 have a play-in game, based on their ranking. (i.e. No. 9 would host No. 24). St. Helens is currently 14th and they should not dip any lower. Just playing Liberty and Sherwood should move them up a notch or two. That would mean a home play-in game. Same-league match-ups are avoided in the play-in round.

Oct. 18

St. Helens at Putnam

Wilsonville at Parkrose

Sherwood at Liberty

Milwaukie at Sandy

Oct. 23

Liberty at St. Helens

Putnam at Sherwood

Sandy at Wilsonville

Parkrose at Milwaukie

Oct. 25

St. Helens at Sherwood

Putnam at Sandy

Milwaukie at Wilsonville

Parkrose at Liberty

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