Huskies battle in 3-1 loss to No. 2 Cascade, score tough win over Stayton

Sweet Home’s volleyball team hung tough last week in two hard-fought matches, beating Stayton 3-1 at home Tuesday, Sept. 20, then following that up by taking a game off second-ranked Cascade, the defending state champions, on Thursday.

“Cascade was a really good challenge for our team,” Coach Mary Hutchins said of the 25-21 25-19, 22-25, 25-17 final score. “We were coming up against a team that has four girls that played at nationals this summer.”

Hutchins said the Huskies worked on aspects of their game that they thought would benefit them against the Cougars, and it did.

“We worked hard on our serve receive and defense,” she said, noting that they focused in particular on spots they knew Cascade likes to hit. “I felt like the girls really stepped up to the challenge.”

Although, she said, the visitors got away on “longer scoring drives than I would have liked,” Sweet Home played some of their best defense of the year.

“They moved around and hit a variety of shots and we made adjustments and really challenged them,” Hutchins said. “Our girls were able to take the third set and were right there with them the whole fourth set until they, ultimately, were able to go on a scoring run right at the end.”

The Huskies (5-3, 1-1, and third in the Oregon West Conference going into this week, traveled to Newport Tuesday, Sept. 27, after The New Era went to press, and will host Philomath on Thursday.

The Cascade experience, Hutchins said, will play into the rest of the season.

“We will definitely be using this game as a learning tool and hopefully a jump start going forward,” she said.

Sweet Home 3, Stayton 1

The Huskies opened their OWC season at home Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a four-set win over Stayton.

“Stayton is a tough team who has been battling with some top teams,” Hutchins said of the Eagles, who dropped to 4-5 overall.

The entire match was a battle, as the 29-27, 25-22, 25-27 and 25-23 scores indicate.

“We really worked on defense and serve receive for this game,” Hutchins said. “We are also working on being a solid team (emphasis) unit throughout the good and the more challenging times.”

Against Stayton, she said her team played some “great” defense “during some very tough rallies” and worked together.

“Many teammates picked each other up in crucial moments or made a big defensive play right when we needed it,” Hutchins added. “I am very proud of them for picking up the win and battling to the very end and not giving up.”

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