SHERWOOD — The Tigard High School volleyball team, with a new coach and a lot of high hopes, was looking to get its 2017 season off to a winning start.
Well, it wasn't easy, but that's exactly what the Tigers did.
Tigard, overcoming a gritty Sherwood squad, came away with a 25-18, 19-25, 29-27, 25-18 victory over the Lady Bowmen in a Three Rivers League opener played last Thursday at Sherwood High School.
"It went well," first-year Tigard coach Megan Norris said after the match. "Determination was the key. We never let down."
"This was super important," Tigard junior setter Avery Kim said. "This shows how strong we are, and how much we've improved."
"It was a good starting point," Tigard senior outside hitter Hannah Han said. "It's nice to start with a win. We're a different team from last year."
With the win, the Tigers not only got off to a 1-0 start in league play, but, they hope, gives them a positive outlook for the rest of the season.
"This sets the tone," Norris said. "We want to keep the momentum going."
"This team is really energetic — and fun," Han said with a smile.
The young Sherwood squad got off to a 0-1 start to the season with the setback, but the Lady Bowmen look to keep growing as the season goes on.
"It went pretty well," Sherwood senior Maddy Carbo said. "We're a young team, and we're working hard. We got the first-game jitters out of the way. We'll continue to get better."
Tigard got off to a fast start in last week's match, sprinting to a 9-4 lead in the opening set. Sherwood cut the lead to 10-6 on a kill by junior Alyssa Haslip, but the Tigers took off again.
With Kim serving, Han had back-to-back kills, the second coming off a pass from senior defensive specialist Kynzey Mitzel, to push the lead to 21-11.
The Lady Bowmen again tried to rally, trimming the margin to 23-16 on a kill by senior Katie Folsom, but Tigard was able to close out the 25-18 first-set win.
The determined Sherwood squad came back strong in the second set. Lady Bowmen sophomore Allison Fiarito had an ace serve to start the set, as Sherwood jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead.
Tigard rallied to grab a 7-6 lead on a block by Han, but the Lady Bowmen wouldn't be denied. A back-row kill by sophomore Jaliza Lazaro and a pair of points on serve by Fiarito gave Sherwood an 11-8 lead.
Once again, Tigard rallied, going up 14-13 on a kill by senior Caitlin Erickson, off a set by Kim. But a Tiger error, followed by an ace serve by Sherwood freshman Gretchen Kibbe, gave the Lady Bowmen a 19-17 lead, with they wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way.
With Kibbe still serving, Sherwood, getting a kill by senior Emily Basewich, upped the margin to 23-17. From there, a kill by Haslip, off a set by Fiarito, helped the Lady Bowmen finish up a 25-19 second-set win.
"We had a lot more energy in the second game," Carbo said. "We all stepped up."
The battle continued in the third set. Tigard grabbed a 7-6 lead on a kill by junior Carole Ramos off a set by Kim. Sherwood rallied to go up 12-11 on a kill by Haslip. Tigard answered back with a kill by Erickson, tying the score at 12-12.
From there, the Lady Bowmen looked to take control. A pair of aces by Lazaro gave Sherwood an 18-14 lead. But Tigard fought back, tying the set at 24-24 on a kill by senior Hannah Jedan.
The teams went back and forth, playing to ties at 25-25, 26-26 and 27-27. But Tigard, taking advantage of a Sherwood error, and getting a point on serve by Han, was able to come away with a 29-27 third-set victory.
The fourth set went back and forth from the start. Kills by senior Dasha Hershey and Erickson helped the Tigers take a 7-4 lead. But Sherwood came right back. A kill and a block by sophomore Evan Parent-Korsness and a block by Haslip gave the Lady Bowmen a 10-7 lead.
But a kill by freshman Ali Dreves, followed by an ace serve by sophomore Emily Bunnell, another kill by Dreves and another ace by Bunnell gave Tigard a 17-14 lead. And the Tigers wouldn't trail the rest of the way.
A kill and a tip by Ramos and five straight points on serve by Kim gave Tigard a 25-18 fourth-set victory, and the league-opening win.
"It was our energy," Kim said of the key to the Tigard victory. "We all talked, and we all played our game. And I live all my hitters."
Both teams returned to league action on Tuesday. The Lady Bowmen were edged 25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-8 in a TRL match at Tualatin. Tigard was tipped 25-17, 25-19, 25-21 in a league match at Canby.
The Lady Bowmen will be back in action today (Thursday), when they play at Lake Oswego in a league match starting at 6:30 p.m. On Monday, Tigard will travel to Newberg for a league match starting at 6:30 p.m. On Tuesday, Tigard will play at West Linn at 6:30 p.m. and Sherwood will travel to St. Mary's Academy for a 7 p.m. contest.