Sherwood can't overcome Corvallis, injury in setback

by: DAN BROOD - BUMP -- Sherwood junior setter Danielle LeBlanc keeps the ball in the air during Saturday's state playoff match against Corvallis.SHERWOOD — The Sherwood High School volleyball squad has excelled by playing as a team.

But, with a berth in the Class 5A state tournament on the line, the Sherwood team had to play without one of its main contributors.

And the Lady Bowmen weren’t quite able to overcome that obstacle — nor Corvallis.

Sherwood, with standout senior outside hitter Jessie Koster going down with a knee injury in the second game, fell 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-19 to the Spartans in a Class 5A state playoff match held Saturday at Sherwood High School.

“We play as a team, but she’s one of our most important players,” Sherwood senior middle blocker Kathryn Groenweghe said of Koster. “She gives us energy. It was sad when she got hurt.”

“This goes to show just how big of a part of the team she is,” Sherwood coach Emily Gustafson said. “It just rocked us. She’s our captain.”

Corvallis, the No. 4 team out of the Mid-Willamette Conference, improved to 13-8 on the season with the win and also advanced to play in the Class 5A state tournament, which starts Friday at Liberty High School.

Sherwood, the Northwest Oregon Conference champion, finished its season with a final overall record of 17-4.

by: DAN BROOD - UP HIGH -- Sherwood senior Kathryn Groenweghe (left) goes up above the net to hit a shot in Saturday's state playoff match with Corvallis. “It was a good season,” Groenweghe said. “We were a family.”

“I told the girls not to let tonight taint the entire season,” Gustafson said. “They played for each other.”

The Lady Bowmen got off to a strong start to Saturday’s playoff contest. Sherwood junior Devin Saucy served back-to-back aces to help the Lady Bowmen take a quick 6-2 lead.

Corvallis came back strong to claim an 11-8 advantage in the opening game. But Sherwood rallied to go up 14-12 following a blocks by Saucy and Groenweghe.

The teams were tied at 16-16 when Sherwood took charge for good. Another ace by Saucy and a block by Groenweghe gave the home team a 19-16 lead.

A pair of kills by junior Charity Doyle and one by Saucy, all coming off sets by junior Danielle LeBlanc, helped the Lady Bowmen close out the 25-22 first-game win.

But Corvallis came back strong in the second game. The Spartans never trailed throughout the game, which they ended up winning 25-20 to knot up the match at 1-1.

The Lady Bowmen got off to a roaring start in the third game. Kills by Groenweghe, Saucy and Koster helped Sherwood take an early 7-3 lead.

But on the next point, disaster struck. Koster, who tweaked her left knee during pregame warm-ups, and had a brace on it, went up for a kill at the net. When she landed, it looked like her left knee gave away and she seemed to be in a lot of pain. She had to be helped off the court and she didn’t return to the game.

“After that, we wanted to win it for Jessie,” Groenweghe said.

The Lady Bowmen fought hard to try and do that. An ace serve by junior Maggie Kirven and a kill by sophomore Mallory Shields off a set by LeBlanc gave Sherwood a 13-10 lead.

The Lady Bowmen lead was at 19-17 when Corvallis began to rally. The Spartans took a 20-19 lead on an ace by junior Natalie Wallace. They got a pair of kills by senior Olivia Coe on their way to getting a 25-22 third-game win.

Groenweghe had a kill and a block early in the fourth game, helping Sherwood take a 3-2 lead. But Corvallis could go up 5-4 on a kill by Sierra Addicott, and the Spartans wouldn’t trail again as they won the fourth game 25-19 to wrap up the match.

“We left it all on the court,” Groenweghe said.

“Corvallis played well,” Gustafson said. “And it just wasn’t our night.”

The loss marked the final high school match for Sherwood seniors Koster, Kayla Shearer and Groenweghe.

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