SWEET HOME — On the road in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs, Marshfield’s volleyball team fell to Sweet Home in straight sets 25-16, 25-13, 25-18 on Saturday afternoon.
As had been the case all season, the Pirates put successful stretches of play together and challenged the No. 3 ranked Huskies but were, ultimately, unable to match the top-level performance of a team that has lost just six sets over the course of the entire season.
“It’s encouraging that we can play with those teams, but it just kind of put us back to the little bit of the beginning of the season where we’re right there, right there, right there and just can’t quite do enough to get over the hump,” said Marshfield head coach Tammie Montiel.
The Huskies struck early and often in the first set. Constantly setting up hitters Bailee Hartsook and Adaira Burger, Sweet Home rode their top attackers as the team tallied two separate 7-1 runs to run away with the set.
Marshfield was competitive point-after-point, but Sweet Home’s ability to finish off plays pushed them past the Pirates. Additionally, while Sweet Home’s offense was cooking, Marshfield never quite got in its normal rhythm.
As a team Marshfield finished the day with 24 kills. Taylor Londo led the charge with 10 as Jamie Foster added five. Raegan Rhodes and Cedar Ward each finished with four.
In the second set the Pirates claimed a 5-2 lead before the Huskies tallied off an emphatic 15-3 run. Capitalizing on Marshfield errors — miscommunication, players in the net and mistimed hits — Sweet Home was able to roll.
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“They had a strong attack in all rotations and we had a hard time adjusting our block to that to slow things down,” said Montiel. “We had moments when we looked good and played right with them and then we went on our streak of errors and too many unforced errors against a good team.”
By extending plays — with the help of Makenna Anderson who had 16 digs — the Pirates found a groove in the third set and started scoring. Hanging with the Huskies and cutting its deficit to two, Marshfield forced Sweet Home to call a timeout at 14-12. While Marshfield had momentum heading into the timeout, it was a different story when Sweet Home stepped back on the court.
“We kind of talked about refocusing and talked about what our goals were and this isn’t going to work. Get back to what our game-plan was. They came out and did what they can do,” said Sweet Home head coach Mary Hutchins. “We have a very good offense. A faster offense. We have a lot of different hitters so we can utilize that and move people around a lot and that was great.”
Sweet Home used that good offense to roll to a 13-3 run that helped complete the sweep and send the Huskies to Hillsboro for the state quarterfinals next weekend.
“We’re on our way. We’re really excited, we have big plans, obviously. We’re hoping to go deep into the state tournament,” said Hutchins.
With the season coming to a close for the Pirates, Montiel reflected on this Marshfield team.
“It was just a really fun group of girls to work with. They came to practice every day and were ready to work hard and ready to do whatever we asked them to do,” she said. “We put them in uncomfortable positions in terms of new positions that they haven’t been in before and they bought into that and that was always nice to have that good attitude from them.”