Wallowa VB girls wins over Joseph in four-game match

<I>Elane Dickenson/Chieftain</I><BR>Joseph and Wallowa players face off across the net as Cougar Caitlin McKenzie sets a ball during the third game of their match Friday afternoon.

The Wallowa High School volleyball team won three games to one in play with the Joseph Eagles in Wallowa in what ended up being an exciting match Friday afternoon.

Scores for the games were 25-22, 25-11, 29-31 and 25-22 in the Old Oregon League match.

In the third game, Joseph was down 15 to 20 and it looked like a three-game sweep by the Cougars, when the Eagles rallied; both teams were at game point several times before Joseph finally made the decisive point.

However, the Wallowa girls came back to defeat JoHi in a close fourth game.

"Volleyball is a game about momentum, and if you have it, you need to hang on to it," WHS coach Terri Wilson said about the letdown her girls experienced in the third game. "We didn't do it very well."

She noted that the girls missed serves twice while at game point. "I think they got nervous and started to panic. You have to have the mental toughness to keep your composure, no matter what the score."

Joseph coach Kendall Hayes, on the other hand, was heartened by her E-Gals third game rally.

"We definitely had a slow start, and made a lot of unforced errors," Hayes said about the match-up with Wallowa. "We missed 12 serves, which is half of a game. I was happy to see the fire of the third game. I think if we can keep building on that motivation, our team can become a lot more consistent. There are just little things we need to tweak - little things that can make a big difference in the game of volleyball.

Wilson noted that it's hard to predict how the rest of the season will go. "It's early yet," she said. "We are just trying to focus on our skills and working together as a team."

Wilson singled out a number of her players for mention. Brittany was 19 for 20 in the hitting category, including eight kills, which the coach called "Pretty darn awesome."

Jill Haga hit 81 percent with 12 kills and Mallory Turner had eight kills.

Turner served 20 for 20 with four aces, while Haga posted 14 for 15 serves and four aces and Caitlin McKenzie's serving was 25 for 27 with two aces. In the dig category, Wilson mentioned Turner with 14 good digs and Ayesha Wortman with 18 for 24 digs.

Wilson said that one factor in her team's favor were the support her team was receiving from WHS's football players, who had a bye last weekend and were on the sidelines with orange megaphones, rooting the girls on.

"Josie Makens had a great game; she led with seven kills, five ace serves, and seven digs," said Hayes about the Jo-Hi side of the game.

She also said Maggie McClaran had 12 digs, while BoDean Warnock and Megan Yost had five kills apiece, as well as three aces apiece. Kerry Gleasman registered19 assists during the play with Wallowa.

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