CORVALLIS — Jorden Swanson didn’t lose faith Thursday night.
She told her Lebanon High volleyball team that its four-set loss at fellow Mid-Willamette Conference power Corvallis was just one defeat. She reminded her players that one setback didn’t prevent them from reaching the 5A state championship match last fall.
Lebanon jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead with a strong finish to the first set. But the Warriors were dominated in the second and didn’t make the plays down the stretch in tight third and fourth sets.
“We just lost our energy and made some errors and let it keep in our heads,” said Lebanon senior Tabitha Trupka. “It made our effort go down, made our energy go down.”
Set scores were 20-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-20.
The Warriors (1-1 MWC) were without star senior Lauren Christie, who suffered a knee injury two days earlier at home against Dallas. Swanson said it was obvious Christie wasn’t playing.
“I’ve seen a very competitive group, more competitive than I have in the years past,” Swanson said, backing her team. “We were just a little too tentative. We were tentative in the fact we were winning games … and it got a little scary.”
The coach added that she wasn’t sure if her group knew how to handle the pressure of leading sets, which it did in three of the four.
The Warriors handled that pressure in the first set, answering several Corvallis (2-0) runs before ending it with a 6-1 run. Nicole Christie, Lauren’s sister, had the final two points on a kill and a service ace. McKenzie Crenshaw had two aces in the run.
Corvallis coach Steve Hyre credited Lebanon with serving aggressively in the first frame while his own team came out flat.
Lebanon lost contact early in the second. The Spartans jumped out to leads of 7-2, 11-4 and 16-7. The Warriors got no closer than seven from there.
But they bounced back in the third, taking advantage of numerous Corvallis errors and providing some defensive power at the net. Lebanon led 17-7 before it went south.
The Spartans had a 5-0 run to close within 17-12 and later another to get within 19-17. The Warriors got several Cheyenne Whitebird kills, but not much else on offense. Corvallis finished the set on a 7-1 run.
The fourth set went back and fourth before Whitebird pounded three straight kills to put Lebanon ahead 15-12. Trupka had a kill to put the Warriors ahead 17-15. But that’s where Corvallis took over.
The Spartans reeled off the next 7-0 run before the Warriors answered with two straight. Corvallis rallied back with the last three points of the match.
Last year, the two teams shared the Mid-Willamette title at 13-1 while splitting two matches between themselves and not allowing a set to the rest of the league.
Lebanon finished second at the state tournament and Corvallis fifth.
Each returns a first team all-state player in Lauren Christie and Ryann Gregg. Lebanon returns seven players off last year’s varsity roster and Corvallis four. Corvallis’ Kylynn Quinn was first team all-conference and Lebanon’s Bri Marquez second team.