Indians rally back in the third set, carry momentum into decisive fourth

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Alyssa Spang (6) celebrates after Scappoose won the first set from Central 25-14.

Click here to view a photo gallery from Thursday.

Scappoose got about all it could handle from Central on Thursday evening. After the Indians dominated the first two sets, Central came roaring back to take a massive lead in the third, eventually forcing a fourth set and losing a close one as Scappoose won 25-14, 25-21, 25-27, 25-22 to continue their strong start this season.

After a lengthy delay caused by a pair of accidents on Highway 30, the Indians came out on fire in the first set. Central, despite their distinct height advantage on the front line, made plenty of mistakes, and Scappoose capitalized. Down two in the opening moments of the set, Scappoose went on a 16-3 run to take a 12 point lead in the first before taking the game by 11.

The second began the same as the first. Scappoose jumped out to an early lead, getting contributions from up and down the roster and taking advantage of every Panther mistake. With the Indians up 16-5, it looked like the set might go the same way as the first, but Central wasn’t ready to roll over. The Panthers rallied back, climbing to within a point at 21-20 before Scappoose pulled together and won the second set 25-21.

Central was miles different now than they were in the first set, something that the Indians and head coach Mark Sprenger expected after seeing the Panthers at a tournament earlier this year.

“I knew that they could turn the corner, I was just hoping they wouldn’t.”

And turn they did.

The third set was a complete reversal. Scappoose fell quickly into a big 12-3 hole, thanks to several vicious kills by the hand of Central’s captain, senior outside hitter Catherine Cutsforth. Gone were the hitting errors of the first set. Cutsforth, who towered over the rest of the players, was unstoppable in the third set, hitting from both sides of the court and clogging up the middle of the net on defense.

Scappoose wouldn’t go down easily. The Indians battled back to within one point at 20-19, and moments later tied the game at 24. Though they lost the third set, the balance had shifted yet again.

“Falling down early in that third game and battling back, I thought gave us some good momentum going into the fourth,” said Springer, whose goal in the fourth set was to get an early lead, and hang on for dear life.

The fourth set was close from the beginning. The Indians held a slim lead throughout, and eventually put an end to Central’s comeback bid, downing the Panthers 25-22 and taking the match.

"This team showed some heart tonight," said Springer. "It seemed at the beginning we would cruise to a 3-0 win but Central really started to play better at the end of game 2. I was very proud of the comeback in game three and it took a ton of energy [only] to fall short of winning."

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UPDATE: Scappoose picked up a non-league win and a loss on the road this week, against Gladstone and Estacada respectively.

The Indians flattened the Gladiators on Tuesday night, winning 25-20, 25-17, 25-18 with just 12 errors and the best serve recieve percentage of any game they played this week at 85%.

Springer's thoughts: "This was the start of a long week of volleyball for Scappoose. Three nights in a row would really test our physical fitness. We played a decent game against Gladstone. We served really well, but I want more consistency in the serve receive game."

Scappoose won only one set against Estacada - the third. The rest of the match wasn't pretty, and the Indians got run out of the gym to the tune of 25-4, 25-14, 22-25, 25-9.They had a week-high 23 errors and mustered an average of just 13 points per set.

Springer's thoughts: "Wow, we did not play very well. Our serve receive struggled for most of the night and we just could not put a ball in play as we hit out or in the net 27% of the time. The bottom line is we started off flat and never recovered."

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