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Apollos shake off Beavers to win Tuesday night


Beaverton battles tough in game one, but Sunset pulls away from there

BEAVERTON — The Beaverton volleyball team was hoping to make lightning strike a second time.

Indeed, the Beavers — who a week ago won their first Metro League match since 2005 — were hoping to strike Sunset hard in their Tuesday match at Beaverton High School.

Unfortunately, Sunset came well prepared for any bad weather the Beavers might try and deal out.

Sunset fought off a strong Beaverton effort in the first game of its Tuesday match, then took the final two games in impressive fashion to win 25-22, 25-12, 25-11.

by: MILES VANCE - SCORE - Sunset setter Laurie Salness celebrates a point with teammate Megan DeMots on Tuesday.

“I think we stepped up our game and played more to our level,” said Sunset sophomore outside hitter Danielle Sterba, who led her team in kills on Tuesday. “We know we need to be climbing up the rankings to get where we should be and I’m glad we took care of it tonight.”

“I think everybody had pre-game jitters, but I think everyone is pretty confident in their abilities,” said Sunset junior middle blocker/outside hitter Kendall Brock. “There were a couple bumps in the road, but we just started communicating better after the first game.”

The win lifted Sunset’s Metro record to 2-2 and put the Apollos in a third-place tie against Westview, while the Beavers fell to 1-3 and fifth place in league play.

“We have the skills and we have the team bonding and cohesion, but it’s just the mentality of focusing on that goal and taking one point at a time,” said Beaverton senior middle blocker Brooke Schwab, who led her team in kills and blocks against Sunset. “It’s just the desire to do that and not look too far ahead and stay in the moment.”

“I just think that we all stayed together and we didn’t give up, and the skills and the attacks all came together,” added senior middle blocker/outside hitter Maddie Shoemaker.

The Apollos held the upper hand in all three of the night’s games, and did their best to prove that would be the eventual result from the start of game one. Sunset blasted out to a 6-0 lead at the start of that game, with Kendra Padden serving six straight points highlighted by a Sterba kill and a joust by Megan DeMots.

But the Beavers hung tough in game one, scored 12 of the match’s next 16 points and pushed into the lead at 12-10 on a four-point run served by Shoemaker that also included a crosscourt kill from Meghan Cortner.

From there, neither team led by more than two points until Sunset’s Makayla Alton served an ace that gave her team a 22-19 lead. From there, Padden added a kill and Beaverton hit into the net twice in a row to pave the way for the Apollos’ 25-20 win.

“We picked up our passing after the first few points and that really helped out,” Schwab said. “And we finally got our attacks executing, getting those over the net and in the court.”

That game-one performance, however, was the highlight of the night for the Beavers. While Beaverton was still within 4-3 on a Schwab tip early in game two, Sunset took over after that. The Apollos outscored the Beavers 21-9 the rest of the way, getting three kills from Sterba, two kills and two aces from Brock, and two aces to close out the game from Laurie Salness.

Sunset then started game three at a dead run, with Padden serving her team to another 6-0 start, and the Beavers never got closer than that after the Apollos hit 8-2 on Brock’s crosscourt kill with Sterba at the service line.

Down the stretch, Sunset got three kills from Chanel Richardson, two each by Sterba, DeMots and Brock, and three aces from Alton to pull away and win 25-11.

“There was a lot more communication” in games two and three, Sterba said. “I definitely think we all helped each other stay positive and we were louder on the court.”

For their part, the Beavers left knowing that they can compete with the Apollos if they just play their game.

“The first game, we were really rallying together, we wanted to help each other, we were bringing each other up,” Schwab said. “And I think that’s what we need over the steady course of the match.”

“At times we had good energy, but it died a little bit,” Shoemaker said. “I really think we could beat Southridge — we could beat any team — if we have the right mindset.”

In upcoming matches, Sunset hosts Westview at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday), plays at the Westview Tournament on Saturday, then hosts Jesuit at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Beaverton plays at Jesuit at 6:30 p.m. tonight, then hosts Southridge at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

To see a photo gallery from this match, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.