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Injuries, illness hurt as Indians drop first two Northwest Oregon Conference matches

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Scappoose junior Sophia Johanson-Phillips hits the ball back at the Wilsonville defense in Tuesday's Northwest Oregon Conference match.The Scappoose High volleyball team got off to an 0-2 start in its Northwest Oregon Conference home.

After a spirited showing against Putnam in four sets on Aug. 30, the Indians were thoroughly handled by the Wilsonville Wildcats, 3-0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-9), at Wilsonville on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Part of the reason for the lopsided scores in the latter sets were maladies that beset the team.

"We are struggling with injuries and illnesses, which is really hurting us right now as well," Scappoose coach Amy Cole said. "We aren't missing anybody, but we were struggling with two injuries and a couple of illnesses, and that impacted us tonight. They played through it, though."

Cole also was clear with where she wanted her team to improve on the court.

"I want to see us be better passers, and see us be better communicators on the floor as well," she said.

After dropping the first two sets to Wilsonville, Scappoose tried to build momentum in the third set. But the Indians were unable to get anything of substance going. Wilsonville got out to 6-0 start, with the first two points being given up on miscommunications between hitters.

As the third set went on, though, Scappoose found itself in more of a hole, down by as much as 22-4. It was then that the Indians found some resolve, scoring five consecutive points after spirited volleys back and forth. Wilsonville was too far ahead, however, and sealed the deal two points later for its second sweep in as many matches this season.

For Scappoose, the result was disappointing, but there were a few bright spots. Cole pointed to 6-2 junior outside hitter Sophia Johanson-Phillips as a good example of the team's strong blocking up front.

Johanson-Phillips echoed those sentiments, but said she knows the team can improve in other areas.

"I think we did pretty well on blocking," Johanson-Phillips said. "We could use some improvement on talking and bringing the energy up, but overall I think we have a lot of work to do before our next game."

It's a tough start to the season for Scappoose, which last year rolled through its first three matches. By the end of the season, the Indians had made it to the postseason, losing to Tillamook in the quarterfinals and to Crook County in a consolation round of the Oregon School Activities Association postseason.

Moving up to 5A is not intimidating to the Scappoose players.

"Although we are moving up, I think we definitely can play with the 5A people," Johanson-Phillips said. "We destroyed a lot of the teams in 4A, so I think we'll do well."

Scappoose will go to Cascade for nonleague competition on Saturday.

Then it will be back to the NWOC wars, with the Indians at home for the second time this year, facing Milwauie at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

That will set the stage for a Sept. 13 visit to St. Helens and the first of two league battles with the Lions, who split their first two NWOC encounters, losing 3-0 to La Salle Prep before knocking off host Parkrose, 3-0, on Sept. 4.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Scappoose Indians senior Shaylan Smith serves the ball against the host Wilsonville Wildcats.

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