Lake Oswego volleyball takes over fourth place in Three Rivers League
There have been some bumps in the road along the way, but week after week and match after match, the Lake Oswego volleyball team is proving it can play with the Three Rivers League's best.
In their two most recent TRL matches, the Lakers swept past Tualatin 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 at Lake Oswego High School on Thursday, Oct. 10, then pushed powerful Oregon City to four sets before finally falling 25-13, 25-21, 20-25, 26-24 at LOHS on Monday, Oct. 14.
The win over Tualatin was particularly significant for the Lakers since both teams had entered the match tied for fourth place with the Timberwolves.
"What a (match) that was against Tualatin," said Lake Oswego interim head coach Corring Fallau. "We won because we played as a team. (The players) had fun out there and it made it a lot of fun to watch."
Including Monday's match against Oregon City, the No. 16 Lakers moved to 6-5 and sole possession of fourth place in the TRL and 10-6 overall. No. 29 Tualatin added a 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 loss to league-leading West Linn on Monday and fell to 5-6 in league and 7-10 overall.
The opening set against the Wolves was a tight affair that included 13 ties and didn't see the Lakers take control for good until Katie Dukart's ace gave LO a 16-15 lead. Even so, Tualatin was still within 23-22 on a kill by Olivia Ashley and an ace from Josie Phillips.
But the Lakers got a sideout on a kill from the right side by Jordan Noble, and after a Dukart serve, McKenna Joyce notched a kill from the middle for the 25-22 win. LO's Jensen Kaelin had six kills in the win and Kendall Kaelin another four.
After a fast start by the Lakers in the second set — they led 5-1 when Morghn Monahan connected from the middle of the net — Tualatin climbed back into contention and led 21-16 on a five-point run served by Kylie Zralka.
But Lake Oswego took over down the stretch, getting a sideout on a Jensen Kaelin kill and then seeing Audrey Wojcik serve out the final eight points, notching three straight aces before Kendall Kaelin connected from the right side off a Kora Butvill set for the 25-21 win.
Kendall Kaelin and Jensen Kaelin had four kills each in the second-set win.
The Lakers then put together their best effort of the night in the third set, using a slightly revamped lineup that included Jordan Noble playing all around, Kaitlyn Onaitis on the right side, Sophia Eghdami opposite Butvill at setter and Joyce at middle blocker.
The change paid immediate dividends, with the Lakers benefitting from improved blocking and defense, along with the continued hitting success of Noble and Jensen Kaelin.
"Our hitters had an amazing night against Tualatin," Fallau said. "(Jordan and Jensen) are two of our top hitters with the most kills per game."
She added that Onaitis' energy and success in hitting played big roles in the third-set win, along with Kendall Kaelin's efforts as a hitter and blocker alongside Monahan, and the defense of Dukart and Wojcik in the back row.
For a team that's gone through a ton of transition — former head coach Leejay Lee was cited for sex abuse in the third degree (a Class A Misdemeanor) and harassment following an incident with an underage female player Sept. 17 — the Lakers' continued success means a lot.
"We have experienced so much change over the last few weeks, adjusting to a new coaching staff and several position changes," Fallau said. "The team as a whole has been so resilient and supportive and that has made all the difference."
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