The lady Eagles cruised to a home court four-set victory over Perrydale in the first round of the state 1A volleyball playoffs Oct. 28. Set scores were 25-21, 25-15, 20-25 and 25-15.
The Eagles started out on fire in the first two sets nearly sinking the Pirates’ galley in the process. However, the ladies temporarily lost their bearings in the third set, succumbing 25-20 in a set that featured long exchanges with the ladies frequently coming up on the short end.
The fourth set saw the rejuvenated Eagles sliding into the groove, easily sinking the Pirates’ ship to the bottom and sending them on a long journey home as well.
With the exception of the third match, the Eagles played stunning coordinated team-ball over the height-challenged Pirates. The Joseph squad was led by the efforts of sophomore Emma Hite who blazed the way with her run-and-gun serving. Hite amassed 16 kills, seven assists, three aces and two blocks.
Other high-flying Eagles included Sabrina Albee’s eight kills, 16 assists and two aces. Alexis Sykora had her usual stellar game, dishing out seven kills along with two blocks and two aces. Camille Crenshaw added three kills and two aces while Tori Suto delivered 14 digs the Eagles effort.
Emma Hite said the victory showcased the team’s cohesion.
“Our energy was there, and we just kind of came together tonight,” she said. “It was good.”
Even the third-set lapse didn’t faze Hite.
“We dug ourselves a hole, and it was kind of hard to get out, but I wasn’t worried,” she said. “Serving was a key factor, and we served well.”
Coach Jill Hite applauded her team’s extreme focus and positive energy. She said the Eagles knew Perrydale was good because they had lost to them early in the season.
“Our game plan was to play aggressive volleyball and that is exactly what the girls did,” she said. Each girl, both on the court or the bench, had something to add. It was definitely a team effort,” she said.
The victory propelled the Eagles into the state quarterfinals in Redmond. The ladies will face no. 1-ranked North Douglas Friday, Nov. 3, at 1:15 p.m.