Viks lose close one in Cottage Grove, Sweep Spartans

The Lady Viks played three consecutive, hard-fought road games, including a win at Marist Thursday night. (photo by Ned Hickson/Siuslaw News)

Cottage Grove d Siuslaw:

25-19, 23-25, 25-16, 19-25, 15-12

Siuslaw d Marist:

25-20, 25-23, 25-14

On Tuesday (March 16), Siuslaw’s volleyball team took on the Lady Lions at Cottage Grove in what was this season’s closest game to date. Both teams were relentless, and the match went to five sets, but the Lady Lions came away victorious this time around.

In the first set, the Lions eked out the win 25-19. This was the second consecutive away game for the Lady Vikings, which coach Ashlee Cole said factored into the team’s momentum and rhythm as a unit. 

“Coming off of the road trip, I tried to get them to start a little bit sooner. They did a lot better this time than they did against [Junction City], and I was excited about that,” Cole said of Tuesday’s match.

Once things got going for Siuslaw, they were able to play their best game and maintain focus. Cole commended her team for “not-giving-up mentality, not letting that first game get to them, and just coming right back.”

In addition to added grit and focus, the Vikings’ serving was truly on point in the second set. Ashley Hennessey had 8 consecutive serves, along with seven unreturned serves from Desi Tupua as Siuslaw evened the match with a 25-23 win in the second set.

“That helped us there, especially with that close of a game,” Cole said of the duo’s serving.

In set three, Siuslaw came out strong after the win, but was not able to maintain the focus needed to secure the win. “We got too excited about the second set and just kind of let [Cottage Grove] back into it,” said Cole. “We actually had a really big lead in the third set, and we just kind of let them come right back and take it away from us. And [the girls] didn't like that.”

Refusing to give up at that point, in set four, the Vikings were persistent and unyielding, making sure that the Lions had no chance to steal the set.

“In set four, we came out strong from the start,” said Cole. “We didn't let them have any kind of momentum at all, we just kept it the whole entire set.”

Again, Siuslaw managed to even the match by winning the fourth set, 25-19.

In the fifth set, the Vikings played hard, but two missed serves proved costly — providing the Lions with the points needed to secure the match win, 15-12.

“The whole match itself, we only missed four serves. Having those last two being in that last set hurt us a little bit. But we went back and forth each set, and we never gave up,” said Cole. “We had a few small hiccups that kind of threw off our momentum in that last set with some substitution issues. We lost our focus for a little bit but never stopped after that.

“We got our mindset back and we got a few more points on the board, and we tried our best all the way through.”

The girls played a notable game offensively. Kya Blake had 16 kills and 1 block, Tupua had 11 kills and 6 blocks, and Alizabeth Norton had 3 kills to go with 3 blocks. Zoe Alberty had 33 as-sists overall.

Cole was very pleased with her team’s efforts throughout. “This was definitely the best game we've played all season. It was really fun to watch the girls actually playing up to their full potential,” she said of her team’s performance.

Cole said the team is looking forward to the Vikings’ next meeting with the Lions in a couple of weeks.

“It’s definitely going to be probably as close,” said Cole, “and it'll probably go to five sets, and it'll be a fun game again. Hopefully we can just come out ahead next time.”

Thursday (March 18), the Vikings were back on the road again, this time at Marist to take on the Lady Spartans. The last time the Viks played Marist was the season opener at home, with the Spartans taking a 3-1 win. On Thursday, Siuslaw returned the favor, sweeping the Spartans on their home court, 25-20, 25-23, 25-14.

Tupua nabbed 13 kills and 3 blocks, Blake had 3 kills, Hailee Outlaw had 4 kills, and Alizabeth Norton scored 2 kills against Marist.

Siuslaw’s next game will be at home on Tuesday (March 23), when the Lady Viks host Marshfield, beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Limited seating is available for spectators.