Evergreen a tougher match for PLU the second time around
October 8, 2002
by James J. Portune
Olympia, WA - It could be said that familiarity makes for a tougher opponent. But the simple truth is that the two teams, Evergreen (2-6 Conf, 4-13 Overall) and Pacific Lutheran (3-3 Conf, 8-5 Overall) that faces each other for the second time this season, this time in the College Recreation Center of Evergreen State College gymnasium were in mid-season form.
The floor general for the Lutes was junior setter Jenne Heu-Weller, who lead her team to a 3-1 (30-17, 15-30, 30-24, 30-28) victory over the Geoducks.
Sophomores Julie Locke and Heather Johnson were the power of PLU's offense, recording 17 and 11 kills respectively.
Evergreen's attack rested in the arms of senior Courtney Brandon (Pomeroy, WA / Pomeroy HS) who pounded out 13 kills and freshman Kristen Bartley (Lubbock, TX / Monterey HS) who found the empty spot on the floor 12 time in four games.
As the score shows, PLU came out focused and dominate in the first game. After only twenty-eight serves the Lutes lead 19-9 and never gave the Geoducks a chance to get into the game.
Sophomore Hanna Plunk (Broomfield, CO / Broomfield HS) and senior walk-on Jessica Smith (Miami, FL / Fairfield Senior HS), who suited up for the first time this season, controlled the second game for Evergreen. Each rolled off at least four consecutive points each time they stood behind the serves line.
With a 15-9 lead in game three it appeared that PLU was designed for another quick win. Freshman outside-hitter Elyse Johnson (Elko, NV/Elko HS) got the Geoducks back into the game but Heu-Weller awoke the dozing Lutes, who held on for a 30-24 win.
It was a refusal to die that brought PLU back in game four. Trailing 9-19 the Lutes nailed eleven kills, committing three errors, to tie the score at 28 all.
"The key to us turning game four around," said PLU head coach Kevin Aoki, "was the girls understanding that we could not trade points. We had to play defense and make Evergreen play ball."
Johnson's service ace gave PLU a 29-28 lead. Johnson's kill, on a set by Heu-Weller gave PLU the crucial 30-28 win.
When asked if the Evergreen/PLU games were developing into a rivalry, Evergreen assistant coach Donna Lasey firmly said, "NO. Coach Aoki is a great guy and we look forward to playing against his team."
Next on the agenda for Evergreen is a three game road trip on subsequent weekends. The Geoducks will not be home until Friday, Oct 25, when they host Warner Pacific at 7:00 p.m. in the College Recreation Center.