Portland — A battle of second-place conference teams commenced on Thursday evening when the Barlow Bruins traveled to Portland and took up the David Douglas Scots in a Mt. Hood Conference pairing on the east side of PDX. Both teams came into the pairing at 2-1 in conference play, trailing the first-place teams Central Catholic and Nelson, who are both undefeated at 3-0 so far.
The host David Douglas Scots opened fire first on the visiting Bruins, seizing a quick 5-1 lead in the opening set. The Scots would maintain that advantage up until Barlow lit a 4-0 run to tie up the set at 12-all and force a David Douglas timeout. The battle would turn into a tug of war, with Barlow eventually taking the lead 18-17 over the Scots, taking it to a 24-19 lead and set point. However, David Douglas battled back from five consecutive set points to tie it and force OT in the opening set. After fighting off another set point, David Douglas ultimately fell 27-25 in the first set to Barlow.
Building off the momentum from their opening set win, the Bruins captured a 7-3 lead in the second set to force an early Scots timeout. After extending it out to a 10-4 advantage, David Douglas chipped at the deficit until they eventually tied it up at 16-all, eventually taking their first lead of the set 17-16. The Bruins ultimately battled and won the second set, going for nine straight points to close the set and win it 25-17 over the Scots, taking a commanding 2-0 set advantage.
Determined not to be swept away on their home floor, David Douglas started strong in the third set with a 5-1 lead. Just like they had in the opening set, Barlow chipped away and took the lead 10-9 over the Scots. David Douglas battled back to force a 15-all total and a Barlow timeout, taking the lead back at the 17-16 mark of the set. Barlow wouldn’t give in to the Scots momentum shift, forcing themselves back in front 21-19 and forcing a Scots timeout being four points from a sweep. David Douglas came back and tied it at 23-all, forcing a Bruins timeout with two points being the difference between a fourth set or a sweep.
It took extra points to decide the third set, but a pair of unforced errors by the Bruins gave David Douglas the chance to avoid the sweep and force a fourth set 26-24. The battle carried over into the fourth set, as the teams went back and forth to open that up as well, fighting to a 6-6 tie in the early stages of the set. After more back and forth banter, Barlow seized control with a 15-10 advantage and forced both Scots timeouts in the process. Unlike the sets beforehand, the Bruins wouldn’t let David Douglas back in it, finishing the match with a 27-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-15 victory.
Game Takeaways – Barlow Bruins
The Bruins have to be pleased with coming out of Portland with a dub, even if it wasn’t the sweep that they were hoping for. In general, I liked the way that they played on Thursday. Barlow’s size was the difference-maker in the trenches, as it forced David Douglas to adjust on the fly and find ways to blast through it or around it.
Players Of Note – Barlow Bruins
Listed at 6’1″, 6’0″, and 6’0″, the trio of Addi Knight, Gabbi Davidson, and Maddy Pea definitely won my attention for their play on Thursday. All three utilized their opportunities to the maximum, obtaining their own shining moments as major two-way threats for Barlow as brick walls and offensive workhorses. I also have praise for Head Coach Jessie Mott and the way she rotates them on the floor, it is very creative and keeps opponents on edge.
Also, a shoutout to setter Lilly Knight, who kept the engine moving with her on-point ball placement and uncanny ability to send it wherever she so chooses. Setters are highly underrated in volleyball, yet so important to the game.
Game Takeaways – David Douglas
Despite it being a four-set loss, I honestly can’t ding the Scots on much in this one. Their scrappiness and hustle were just amazing to see, it is what ultimately kept them around as long as they were. Plus, it is important to note that they were also only two points short of actually leading two sets to one in this match. They were outsized and I thought they handled it well.
Players of Note – David Douglas
I absolutely love Ellianna McMoore to pieces, the way she played on Thursday night was that of an underdog stepping up to the bullies after school. Ellianna was completely unafraid of the size disadvantage; she was the biggest disruptor on offense to the Bruins size, and she caused lots of problems for Barlow.
You’ve gotta love a libero that gives everything she has for the team, and Angeleena Acosta is that type of libero. Her defense was nothing short of awesome in protecting the middle of the floor, and the way Angeleena was flying like a jet from one side to the other was truly impressive and heartwarming to see. Every program should strive to find a libero like Angeleena.
My final athlete of note went to Haley Moreschi. She is a setter by nature, but also a net blocker on defense. I loved the way that Haley paired up with Ellianna at the net to slow down Barlow, it is a great combination and Haley utilizes her skillsets to the fullest on the floor.