photo by Jerry Baldock
photo by Jerry Baldock
The Lady Outlaws battled Sweet Home, the No.1 team in the Oregon West League, in a grueling two-and-a-half hour five-set match on Monday, October 21, and pulled off an extraordinary win to finish league as co-champions with the Lady Huskies.

Prior to the match, seniors Sam Silva, Addy Myhre, and Maddison Anderson were showered with flowers and gifts from friends and family.

Tension was high as Sisters (No. 4 in the state) and Sweet Home (No. 2 in state) prepared to battle one last time in league play. The first set was intense, and filled with long, hard-fought rallies, incredible digs, kills, and blocks at the net. It was close the entire way, with neither team able to gain more than a three-point advantage. With the Outlaws down 22-23, Greta Davis made a powerful kill that the Huskies didn’t have a chance to return, and the score was tied 23-23. It evened up again at 24-24, 25-25, and 26-26, as neither team was able to get the two-point spread for the win.

At that moment, and to everyone’s surprise, Sophie Silva ran off the court and into the hallway. The referee had already whistled for the serve, so the Outlaws were out of rotation and the Huskies were awarded a point and took a one-point advantage, 26-27. Later, Coach Rory Rush explained to The Nugget what had happened.

“Sophie felt sick and rushed off and actually threw up. I told her later she should have just puked on the floor, and it would have saved us a point,” Rush jokingly said with a smile.

The Huskies were able to score the next point and Sisters dropped the set 26-28.

Sisters came out with a vengeance at the start of the second set. Great serves from Ellie Rush, Sydney Myhre, and Sophie Silva quickly pushed the Outlaws to an 11-3 advantage. The momentum was with the Outlaws and along with great serves, players executed smart hits and timely blocks, which led to a 25-15 Outlaw win.

The third set was a nail-biter, and teams scratched and clawed for every point. Neither team managed to get more than a one-point lead early in the set, and the score was tied 10 times before it reached 12-12.

Powerful and timely kills from Greta Davis and Sophie Silva, and a perfect block from Sophie and Natalie Sitz kept the Outlaws in the game. Girls flattened out on the floor to get the dig, others leaped in the air and drilled it to the floor for the kill that the Huskies had no chance to return, and still others made perfect reads to get the block. The score was tied up 18 times before Sweet Home finally got the two-point spread and won 30-28.

The fourth set was a must-win situation for the Outlaws and they rose to the occasion. Ellie Rush started at the service line and got Sisters a quick 3-1 lead before another mishap occurred. A Sweet Home player took a ball to the face, got a bloody nose, and the match was delayed while the floor was cleaned. When play resumed, Sisters kept the momentum. At a critical and pivotal point, Sydney Myhre had an incredible and athletic dig. She hit the floor with so much force, momentum slid her halfway across the court. Amazingly enough, she got the ball up and the Outlaws scored the point. Sisters got great blocks from Davis and Addy Myhre and perfectly timed kills from Davis and Sophie Silva. Sisters took the set with a score of 25-21.

The fifth and final set was a barn-burner, with the score tied nine times. The Outlaws took the lead and were only able to hold onto a one-point lead until the score was even at 10-10. At that point the crowd was on their feet shouting, stomping, and cheering for the home team. Rush went back to the service line and took the Outlaws to a 14-10 advantage, but then the Huskies got the side-out and scored a point. Sweet Home served the ball and Sophie Silva put the icing on the cake with a well-placed kill and the Outlaws won 15-11.

The home crowd erupted as the Lady Outlaws hollered and shouted in celebration. The win was especially sweet, as Sisters had lost 3-0 to the Huskies in the first round of league play. Both teams will share the honor as co-champs of the Oregon West League.

Seniors Sam Silva and Addy Myhre were excited to comment on the victory.

“It was unbelievable!” said Silva. “After our loss to Sweet Home earlier in the season we were a little defeated, and we’d lost twice to them last year. It was awesome to come back and be co-champions. Tonight we just breathed, stayed calm, and played to win.”

Myhre said, “The only way we did it was because of our chemistry. When we believe in each other, we start to believe in ourselves, and things start flowing and we start to click. And we did that tonight.”

Davis finished the match with 25 kills and five blocks, and Rush was quick to comment on her stellar performance.

“Greta has amazing power and the ability to put the ball down with force, but she’s also been working on playing smart,” said Rush. “After two amazing kills where the defense was back and ready to dig, she came out with a nice short roll shot to the middle, which took them by surprise. She showed her growth tonight as a hitter and made some very smart plays.”

Rush told The Nugget that the Outlaws did much better on the block against the Huskies, and stated that the girls settled down, watched and were patient. Exceptional blocks came at key moments in the match and shut down the Huskies’ hitters, especially at the end of the fifth set.

Sophie Silva led the team with eight blocks, Davis recorded five and Addy Myhre and Sam Silva each added four.

Rush spoke highly of each blocker.

“Sophie has a knack for reading the ball and when she blocks, normally the ball goes straight down,” said Rush. “Greta is so explosive with her block. She’s so athletic and gets so high they can’t hit around her. Addy is smart and patient, and reads the hitters well. Sam has great court awareness and timing when it comes to blocking. Playing at outside hitter, she doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to block, but when she does, we can count on her to put up a great block.”

Sophie Silva had 19 kills in the match, Sam Silva tallied 11, and Addy Myhre added nine. Rush dished out 70 assists and had eight aces in the match.

Rush told The Nugget she was thrilled with the win.

“I’m super-excited,” said Rush. “I thought tonight was a complete team effort. We’ve definitely had ups and downs throughout the season, and tonight we played with nothing to lose. Tonight was about preparing us for state — about learning and getting better as a team. And, it feels really good to be co-champs with Sweet Home.”

After the win was recorded in the books, Sisters moved up in the rankings to No. 2 in state, and Sweet Home dropped to No. 3. The Outlaws will host a play-in game on Saturday, November 2. Their opponent is yet to be decided.