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La Grande’s Anneliese Wiseman was one of six seniors who was recognized prior to Thursday’s match against Baker. Wiseman had four kills in the sweep. CASEY KELLAS - The Observer
The La Grande High School volleyball team completed a season sweep of rival Baker Thursday.
And the Lady Tigers couldn’t have picked a better night to do it.
After recognizing its six seniors prior to the match, LHS came out and took care of business, sweeping the Bulldogs 25-21, 26-24 and 25-6.
“This senior group is such a hard-working group,” coach Melinda Becker said.
“They have contributed a lot to the program, so it’s nice to see them go out on a win in their last home game.”
La Grande (15-3, 8-0) fed off the emotions of the pregame festivities early on, jumping out to a 7-1 lead in Game 1 behind the serving of Madison Elliott and Olivia Trotter.
But Baker (10-7, 5-3) found its rhythm midway through the set and rallied to tie it at 13-13.
The teams traded blows after that before the Lady Tigers strung together six straight points to go up 23-17.
Baker made one last run but came up short, giving LHS an early one-set lead.
Game 2 was everything one would expect from a Baker-La Grande showdown.
The Bulldogs got on the board first before LHS took a 3-1 lead.
Baker got the set even at seven-all, but once again the Lady Tigers went on a run to go up 15-10 and eventually 18-12.
But Baker just wouldn’t go away.
The Bulldogs rallied to tie the game at 19-19 and took its first lead at 21-20.
The set saw three more ties after that, the last coming at 24-24 before LHS nailed the final two points to a commanding two-set lead.
“We were struggling a little with our serve-receive,” Becker said. “I think senior night was a little distracting and it took the girls a while to settle down.
“But after Game 2 I told them to just play volleyball.”
And that’s exactly what the Lady Tigers did.
Game 3 was as one-sided as LHS could ask for.
After jumping out to a 6-3 lead, La Grande scored 13 straight points with Kendall Kirkland at the service line.
Baker scored two late points but the outcome was never in doubt and La Grande picked up its eighth Greater Oregon League win of the season.
Kirkland was 23 for 23 serving with 13 assists and three aces. Denise Comfort had 11 kills, five digs and one ace on seven of nine serving.
Elliott was 100 percent serving with 13 assists, six kills and four digs, while Trotter was 100 percent serving with five kills and one ace.
Breanna Partney had seven kills, four stuffed blocks and finished 100 percent at the service line. Lauren Mills was 85 percent serving with three blocks and two kills, while Anneliese Wiseman had four kills, three assists and two digs.
The Lady Tigers have now won their last six GOL matches against Baker dating back to last season.
“Baker is always a scrappy team. But I think my girls have gotten over the mental block that it’s Baker,” Becker said.
“They really believe they are going to win.”
La Grande will look for its second straight GOL title Tuesday when it travels to play McLoughlin. The Lady Tigers wrap up the regular season at Vale Oct. 25.