Sweet Home scores volleyball sweep of Philomath

Sweet Home’s volleyball players found out what it takes to be a top team in a week that saw them sweep a tough conference foe, then battle through some tough tournament play, where they lost to two of the state’s top teams.

After beating Woodburn on the road Tuesday, Sept. 14, 25-10, 25-13, 25-16, the Huskies returned home to face Philomath, a perennial state qualifier, on Thursday at home.

With their student section in full voice, for the first time in nearly two years, Sweet Home played what Coach Mary Hutchins said was some players’ “best” effort of the young season.

The Sweet Home lineup has been a work in progress, as Hutchins said she was on her fourth new line-up of the season after two weeks of play.

“It’s been a crazy year already,” she said.

The Huskies stayed in the lead, and in control of the first two games against Philomath, winning 25-21, 25-18, but things got a little tighter in the third game, with the Warriors battling into the lead midway through the contest and keeping the score close until Sweet Home was able to put it away, 25-22.

With only three returning varsity players, the Huskies have “limited experience,” Hutchins said.

“Philomath had a lot standing over there – pretty much their whole team from last year,” she said.

Sweet Home is not deep, so Hutchins is having to push young players to develop.

At the Cascade Tournament Saturday, the Huskies beat Seaside and Molalla in pool play, then switched lineups, due to an injury, against Marshfield, losing to the Pirates.

Against Santiam Christian in the gold bracket, regularly one of the top 3A teams, Sweet Home lost again.

“We made too many errors that added up against us,” Hutchins said. “We struggled on defense and we need to work on our mental game, staying in the system and not letting errors compound.”

The next test is Sisters, which Sweet Home plays on the road Tuesday evening. The Huskies will play Stayton at home Thursday, at 6 p.m.