By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– What a way to end the first-half of the Tri-Valley Conference but with their biggest test of the TVC League season so far.
North Marion has passed their five previous test against Molalla, Estacada, Gladstone and Madras, but with Corbett a game behind them in the standings and tied with the Rangers a Huskie loss would create a three-horse race for the title with five games remaining in the league season.
The match started with North Marion taking a 15-11 lead over the Cardinals. But the scrappy Corbett team bounced back and took advantage of the Lady Huskie hitting miscues with some good hits of their own to turn the four-point hole into a four-point lead on the way to a 25-21 result in favor of the road team.
North Marion answered in the second set, jumping out to a 11-4 lead following a Paige Martin kill before having to call timeout with the Cards rallying with the score 13-9. The timeout proved beneficial as they came out of the breather to push their lead to 17-11 starting with Raymee Boese’s kill as the Huskies even the game up at a set apiece with a 25-18 win.
“It felt good, it felt very good,” smiled Martin on the second set rebound. “I wasn’t really nervous but after that first set, it got a little shaky but we rebounded from there. I thought we had them in three but a challenge is good.”
And a challenge they got entering the third as both team’s looked for that second set win. North Marion led 5-3 early before Corbett took a 8-5 lead. The Huskies answered with a 6-1 run to regain the lead as both team’s traded points.
With the game tied at 17, Martin had back-to-back points with a kill and a Service Ace to hand North Marion a lead that they won’t relinquish. Katie Ensign scored the last three points of the set that featured a opposite court shot for match-point to give the Huskies a two sets-to-one lead on Corbett.
The Cardinals defense challenged North Marion by making them find gaps in their defense and making them adjust on the fly.
“It was really good,” said setter Emma Morcom on seeing the front Corbett threw their way. “They definitely put up a good defense so we had to mix up our hits and our tips and to make sure that we found the holes instead of hitting straight to them and instead of rallying back-and-forth because we want to execute.”
In the fourth set, the Huskies limited the big runs by the Cardinals. North Marion jumped out to a 7-0 lead with Kelsey Richardson serving before Corbett cut the lead to one at 10-9.
The Cardinals would get it to one again later in the set, but the Huskies shut the door on Corbett for the 21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-19 win Tuesday night as they wrapped up the first loop through league 5-0.
“We came off the energy of the last game and we knew that we were going to come out on top so we hit at them with everything we got and everything clicked and went together,” said Richardson. “I feel like one thing we can do is to talk more and we can start hitting spots better.”
North Marion opens the second-half of league at home Thursday versus Molalla at 6pm
Photos By Jeremy McDonald