Evergreen makes Oregon Tech earn playoff spot
November 8, 2002
by James J. Portune
Olympia, WA - With two games remaining in the season and a slim half a game lead over Northwest for the fifth playoff spot the visiting Oregon Tech 'Hustlin' Owls' were in need of a win at Evergreen Friday night.
With two games remaining and four conference wins Evergreen State was not in the playoff picture and was playing for personnel pride and the opportunity to establish new team records, in only its second year of existence.
When the lights were turned off two hours later Oregon Tech (19-8, 10-7 CCC) looked tired but happy as Evergreen (8-19, 4 -13 CCC) made them work for their tenth conference win of the 2002 season (30-18, 34-36, 30-25, 30-25).
Brandon (Pomeroy, WA / Pomeroy HS) lead the Geoducks with 15 kills, .355 hitting percentage and 6 solo blocks.
Bree Pollard had the hot hand for Oregon Tech with 16 kills. But, Marcie Mitzner was the most efficient Owl with 11 kills, 2 errors on 20 attempts.
Volleyball is very much a team sport but the momentum of game one swung in favor of Oregon Tech when Anita Stanford step to the service line for the first time. Leading by just two point, 9-7, Stanford started a 21 to 11 run that lead to a 30-18 game one victory. During the course Stanford served three aces and recorded two kills, most notably the final point of the game.
From the opening serve of game two it very much looked as though this match belonged to Evergreen State. Junior Stephanie Short (Spokane, WA / Shadle Park HS) and sophomore setter Hanna Plunk (Broomfield, CO / Broomfield HS) quickly served the Geoducks to a 6-1 advantage.
But when Oregon Tech scored its tenth point of the match Evergreen lead by only two, 12-10.
Up to the twenty-first point the Geoducks held their slim lead. Two service aces from Tyan Sandusky change that and the Owls lead 22-21.
For the remaining eight point neither team could gain the needed two point advantage to win at 30 and the match continued.
Ten points later and two attack errors by Oregon Tech Evergreen evened the game score at 1 all, winning the game two marathon 36-34.
Short opened game three for Evergreen in a fashion similar to game two, a 4-1 lead.
Geoduck attack errors gave the lead to Oregon on the sixth point and the Owls stayed there for the remained of the game, winning 30-25.
The Evergreen State volleyball record book shows that the Geoducks have never come back to win the night after losing the first and third games. The outcome of game four would not change the record books, as the service skills of Amy Danielson, Danielle Dobey, Pollard, Christina Merrill and Stanford lead the Owls to a 30-25 game four win and the teams 10th conference win of the season.
Oregon Tech offset a higher hitting percentage by the Geoduck (.144 to .074) with 26 service aces compared to 13 by Evergreen.
The one statistical category that Evergreen was dominate in was in team blocks. The Geoducks posted 10 solo blocks and 4 assist blocks while Oregon Tech managed to turn back Evergreen hits only five times.
Coach Lash pointed that, "our net defense has become our strong point. There is not better feeling for a volleyball player than turning back an opponents kill attempt."
Evergreen will close out the 2002 season tomorrow night against 15th-ranked Southern Oregon. The 7:00 p.m. game will be broadcast live on 'The Geoduck Sports Network'. To hear the game live log-on at http://www.evergreen.edu/athletics/geoducksportsthis/aboutevergreen/week.htm