Sweet Home — Welcome back Huskies, its been an odd season without having y’all rolling past everyone. Yes 4A, they are still the defending state champions and are relevant, sorry to shatter your hopes for the playoffs this season. Their 7-4 record entering Thursday isn’t reflective of the retooling happening down in the friendly confines of Sweet Home, as an entirely new lineup had to gel together and get their chemistry down on such little notice. Thursday night showed how far the Huskies retool has come this season, as they would put together their best performance of the season against rival and top ranked Sisters Outlaws.
Without star outside hitter Greta Davis, the Outlaws had their work ahead of them on the road. It was a rough beginning, as the Huskies blew open a 7-0 hole to start the match, seizing control from the opening serve of the game. Sisters would find their rhythm after a bit, cutting the lead down to a 12-7 game, but they would be plagued by hitting errors and receiving issues on serves. Their talent kept them in the match up to the 16-13 mark, but their errors would ultimately be their grave, as the Huskies pounced on opportunities and closed out the opening set 25-20 over the Outlaws.
Sisters opened up much stronger in the second frame, taking a 7-3 lead over the Huskies and looked like things were coming together. However, they would stumble on self errors, allowing Sweet Home to take an 8-7 lead. This just grew their confidence, momentum, and rhythm, as their game flow was smooth and chemistry was extremely visible in the set. Sisters struggled to chain together more than two points in the set, as Sweet Home blew open the lead wider and wider, eventually taking it 25-12 in the second frame and finishing on a 22-5 run to close it out.
The final frame was arguably the best one for Sisters, as they opened a two point advantage that grew to four points, chaining together quality possessions and showing their talent. Leading 11-7, the Outlaws once again stumbled and lost momentum, as Sweet Home took the lead back 12-11 and never looked behind them. Their gameplay combined with the barrage of errors by the Outlaws gave Sweet Home a sweep of #1 Sisters 25-20, 25-12, and 25-18, stunning the 4A landscape and reminding everyone of who is still the queen of 4A.
Sweet Home: Although they sat third in the Oregon West, it seemed like Sweet Home just disappeared from relevancy after their championship season. They’re definitely not irrelevant! I was very impressed with their team, as their blocking, middle play, and offensive consistency were huge against Sisters. Watch out for Jamie Seward and Adaira Sleutel, these two were the anchors of the performance. Kailee Pepple, Chloe Tyler, and Kendra Jamison all played key roles as well, demonstrating the chemistry and potential that this team has to defend their 4A title this fall.
Sisters: Well, that was something. Greta Davis was out and without her, the Outlaws simply couldn’t compete with the Huskies. It had nothing to do without talent, they have plenty of it, instead it was purely execution. All types of errors: Hitting errors, service errors, receiving errors, huge holes on the middle, miscommunication, etc., just a laundry list of things to talk about. All in all, this was simply a game to forget and move on from for Sisters. They’re still 4A contenders and should be, but definitely a wake up call of how quickly things can crater back to Earth.