Husky spikers head for playoffs

The Sweet Home volleyball team finished its league season with three straight wins, beating Cottage Grove and Elmira at home last week and then downing La Pine on the road Monday, Oct. 24.

The wins leave Sweet Home 7-3 in league and 15-5 overall going into the playoffs, not counting some tournament games.

With Elmira’s loss to Cottage Grove Tuesday, the Huskies finish as the second-seeded team in the league behind Sisters, which finished 10-0 in Sky-Em play.

The Huskies will host Stayton in a play-in game at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. The Eagles lost 3-1 to Philomath on Tuesday to finish 15-9 overall and third in the Oregon West Conference, behind Cascade (9-1) and Stayton (7-3). Sweet Home has defeated all three of the top Oregon West teams this season, including a 3-0 win at Stayton in the season opener.

Sweet Home 3, Cottage Grove 2

It shouldn’t have been that hard, but the Huskies had trouble all night getting any rhythm going as they battled through five games before putting the Lions away, finally, 25-21, 14-25, 25-18, 21-25, 17-15 on Oct. 18.

“It just was a game where the girls came in and it was like they weren’t really excited to be there,” Coach Alicia Meier said. “Their heads weren’t in the game. We could not pass and that’s usually one of our strengths.”

Cottage Grove tried to take advantage, with aggressive serving and tough defense, but the Huskies managed to pull it out.

“We won and that’s about it,” Meier said.

Annie Whitfield led the Huskies with 17 kills; Brandi Trewin had nine and Megan Graville added eight, while Tiffany Miller contributed 43 assists over the five games.

“We had eight missed serves. That’s a lot for us,” Meier said. “When we missed a serve, it was right after we got some sort of momentum. It was kind of one of those things.

“I think they were upset with how they played. You always want to play well. I think it kind of knocked them into a wake-up call for Elmira.”

Sweet Home 3, Elmira 0

Against Elmira, which upset the Huskies earlier in the season, Sweet Home got down to business right away Thursday, celebrating Senior Night with a three-game win, 26-24, 25-23, 25-23 that wasn’t easy.

“We came out focused,” Meier said. “This is the team everybody has been expecting to see. It was exciting to see them play like that.”

Down 23-20 in the first game with Elmira only needing a side out for a win, the Huskies battled back to win, 26-24. Then, in the third game, the Falcons jumped out to a 6-1 lead but Sweet Home again climbed back into the game. Meier said the Huskies followed their game plan, which was to keep the ball away from Elmira’s strongest player and make them work to get their sets off.

“It was nice to see them be able to do that,” she said of her team. “We were down at times but we were able to maintain confidence. No lead that Elmira had was too big for us to catch up. We did not lose confidence. ”

Whitfield led the team again with nine kills, along with five digs and “a pretty good run of serves – one ace in 14 attempts.” Trewin had six kills and four blocks – “really good blocks that kind of changed the momentum, which was really good,” Meier said.

“It was just a good way for a lot of those girls to have their final home game in league – to play up to their potential.”

Sweet Home 3, La Pine 0

In their final league game, at La Pine Monday, the Huskies wasted little time putting the Hawks away, 25-7, 25-14, 25-8.s

“They really struggled with serve-receive,” Meier said of La Pine.

Whitfield led with six kills and Sonya Corliss added five. Graville had four aces and three kills.