Klamath Union volleyball needed a win.
A three-game losing streak isn’t how any team wants to start conference play.
Yet, that’s how Klamath Union’s season was shaking out, the Pelicans had dropped their first three Skyline Conference matches – until Tuesday.
The Pelicans took an early 2-0 lead against Mazama, and even after dropping the third set, secured their first Skyline Conference, rivalry victory with a fourth-set win and sets of 25-19, 25-19, 12-25, 25-18.
“We needed this one,” Klamath Union head coach Faryn Case said. “We were on a little bit of a losing streak. We needed a win and this was a perfect win: cross-town rival. . . We just came out ready for this one.”
Junior Grace Girdner dominated for the Pelicans with 12 kills and 13 digs. Senior libero Ashlee Nielsen had a game-high 28 digs, while junior McKenzie Probst’s 26 assists were also a game high. Off the serve, junior Aaliyah Calarruda had three aces.
For Mazama, sophomore Bridget Fenner had an all-around strong performance with 12 digs, nine kills, eight assists and two aces. Fellow sophomore Mallory Menken had four assists, four kills and two blocks, while freshman libero Ella Baley had a team-high 18 digs. Senior Paula Ferguson followed with nine digs and two assists.
The match was a four-set tug-of-war.
With sixteen ties in three sets – the Vikings led the whole third set, Mazama held on closely in a repeat-comeback attempt.
Last Thursday, the Vikings rallied from an 0-2 start to beat Henley in their first conference win 5-2.
In the third set, it looked as if Mazama would rally once again. The Vikings took an early ten-point lead off a 6-0 run at 17-7. Klamath Union couldn’t recover the set, and Mazama forced a fourth with a score of 25-12, the match’s widest set win margin.
“We missed so many serves. I always say, ‘Serves are our momentum killers’,” Coach Case said. “Every time we miss a serve, it just kills our momentum, and we missed about four.”
Still, the Pelicans recovered their momentum in the fourth and looked like the more experienced team, Mazama head coach John Downey said. And with just one underclassman, they are.
“They’re well coached. They don’t get down,” he said. “Even though they lost that game — the third set — by quite a bit, they didn’t get down. They battled back.”
Downey said he wasn’t disappointed in his team, though, and that it’s a matter of learning to see the court better and refining offensive decision making — something that comes with more experience.
“They need to be able to see where to put [the ball] where there’s the least amount of defense,” he said.
After two cross-town rivalries on the road, the Vikings will head home to host Hidden Valley Thursday, while the Pelicans will travel to Henley for another rivalry. Both matches start at 6:30 p.m.
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