The La Grande volleyball team did what was needed in its regular season-finale against Greater Oregon League foe McLoughlin.
And the Tigers’ primary weapon was serving.
La Grande put up 20 aces — eight by Jayce Seavert and six by Liz Cashell — en route to an easy 25-4, 25-9, 25-11 sweep over Mac-Hi Tuesday.
“We served really tough tonight and that was really good. It’s what we need to do,” head coach Melinda Becker-Bisenius said.
The Tigers were also tough to stop on offense. Claire Hardy had 13 kills for La Grande, and Kelsey Brown collected seven kills. She also added three blocks. Cashell and Alyssa McDowell both had 17 digs, and Kenzie Williams turned in a team-high 13 assists.
Becker-Bisenius said one of the keys for La Grande was to keep the intensity level up against the overmanned Pioneers, and Aysia Rasheed, one of the seniors for the Tigers honored on senior night, said the team did just that.
“We tried to keep our energy up, and Becker reminded us to keep things going and not underestimate Mac-Hi,” Rasheed said. “We just kept that in the back of our heads.”
La Grande took control of the first set with a 14-0 run. Hardy had two kills during the run, and Cashell capped it with an ace for a 14-1 lead. Back-to-back kills by Hardy and Brown made it 19-3, and Seavert added two of her aces during a set-ending 6-0 run.
Another Hardy kill in the second set gave the Tigers an 8-2 lead, and they again seized control.
Consecutive Seavert aces made it 15-5. Brown pushed the lead to 13 with an ace of her own, then capped the set later with a block.
Mac-Hi briefly grabbed a two-point lead in the third set before a Tigers’ 5-0 run swung the set in La Grande’s favor. The Tigers followed with a 10-0 run — powered by four Seavert aces — to pull ahead, 17-5. Hardy later had back-to-back kills to force match point, and McDowell ended it with, fittingly, an ace.
“It was probably one of our strongest points,” Hatley, another senior, said of La Grande’s serving.
The Tigers (10-9 overall, 4-2 GOL) finish second in the GOL, and will host a play-in game against Scappoose next week. The teams met in a play-in match a year ago, which was won by Scappoose.
“We know coming into the game next week for the play-in game we have to step it up,” Hatley said.