La Grande spikers stay perfect against Baker
By Pierre LaBossire
Observer Staff Writer
The La Grande volleyball girls know they're going to have to prove themselves each and every night, despite their high state ranking.
Thursday night, the No. 2-ranked girls proved they can battle back and come from behind if need be.
The girls got off to a slow start against the No. 9-ranked Baker Bulldogs, but rallied to win Games 2, 3 and 4 to win. La Grande took the match 20-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-20.
La Grande has now knocked off two of its biggest Greater Oregon League opponents Â— Burns (No. 3 in the state) and Baker. The Tigers have also pushed their record to 10-0 (2-0 in GOL).
Coach Teresa Dowdy said the Tigers' defense in Caylin Goss, Katelin Weaver and Joellyn Hasse was "incredible." Goss in particular spent much of the match losing skin on the floor, making a number of diving digs to keep rallies alive. Her dives are by design, Dowdy said.
"She works really hard at that in practice," she said.
After a sluggish Game 1, in which La Grande fell behind 7-15 before rallying to make it close at the end, the Tigers, and Kaci Lyman in particular, simply took over.
Lyman had at least seven kills in Game 2 as the Tigers dominated, finishing the game on an 8-2 run. She ended the match with 23 kills.
Dowdy said the Tigers weren't hitting well in the first game. She said when Lyman and Kathryn Ely and the other Tiger big hitters get cranked up, "we're a lot more effective."
Dowdy said the match was a testament to the Tigers' will to win.
"All 13 of them never want to give up," she said.
Goss, who was 16-for-17 with her digs, agreed.
"We were just determined to win," she said.
Goss also said the team has made a conscious effort not to get caught up in the hype of being the No. 2-ranked 3A team in the state. She said the girls know they have to go out and earn their wins.
"We try to be the Â‘Humble Tigers.' That's our motto. It makes us not be overconfident," she said.
Goss was also a perfect 19-for-19 serving and had eight kills on 28-31 hitting.
Lyman was 40-43 with her hits, while Ely was 25-27 with eight kills, and served 16-for-17. Bonnie Morgan was 11-for-11 with three kills. Morgan's kills all came in Game 4 when they were really needed, too.
Darcy Dolge and Breezy Fredericksen each hit 12-for-13 with four kills.
Stephanie Keith served 18-for-18, while Hasse served 14-14 with one knee-buckling knuckleball ace and Katelin Weaver served 14-15 with two aces.
La Grande, No. 2 in the state behind Estacada, next plays at the Fruitland (Idaho) Tournament Saturday.