The Outlaws ladies, who had been dominating their opponents of late, took a crash-and-burn this week, losing three straight, along with about 10 places in the state rankings.
The first match, on Thursday, Sept. 26, saw the Outlaws with a promising start versus Stanfield, easily winning the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-23. Though the second set was close, the Outlaws were clearly in command and obviously possessed more talent.
Apparently, Stanfield didn't get the memo. Rather than give up, Stanfield gave a lesson in character and grit and fought back. By the time they clawed out a 26-24 victory, it was easy to see how the remaining sets would unfold. The lady Outlaws seemed to lose all hope, and a very fine squad seemed to lose all comprehension of team or teamwork, and the final two set scores showed the result: 25-13 and 15-8.
Not that the lady Outlaws didn't have some fine moments. Zari Bathke had 13 digs while Claire Farwell and Ashlyn Gray went 100 percent from the service line with 17 for 17 and 14 for 14 serving, respectively. Carsyn Miller had 13 assists and mighty Ashlyn Gray had 13 kills.
Coach Lisa Farwell said the squad played solid volleyball for the first three sets and could see great improvement although the night proved frustrating.
"We completely let down after the close loss in the third set," she said. "We beat ourselves in the fourth set with mistakes and mental errors and then couldn't rally in set five."
The squad next traveled to Heppner, but bad ju-ju seemed to follow the Outlaws west. The ladies lost in three straight sets: 25-22, 25-23 and 25-18. Regardless of the losses, Coach Farwell noted some highlights. Miller went 100 percent from the service line serving 14 for 14 while Claire Farwell played good defense with 23 digs. Bathke had four blocks and Gray amassed 12 kills.
"We played solid volleyball against Heppner, but we lacked intensity," Coach Farwell said. "We didn't have any sense of urgency to finish a set on top. We were flat and that doesn't translate into a win."
The Outlaws fared no better versus rival Union. The ladies again surrendered in three sets: 25-16, 25-7 and 25-7. No highlights for the match were recorded.
"As a team, we looked like we never got off the bus," the coach said. "We made every mistake we could make - from serve receive errors to unforced errors at the net."
The losses left the Outlaws with an 0-3 league record and 7-8 overall. The ladies next travel to Weston on Thursday, Oct. 3 and then travel to John Day on Oct. 5 to play Grant Union and Pilot Rock.