Philomath High School’s volleyball team secured a key road victory in the Oregon West Tuesday night with a four-set victory over Sweet Home that included a strong performance at the net.
“We had an efficient hitting and blocking night,” PHS coach Autumn Hilberg said following the 21-25, 25-15, 26-24, 25-10 victory. “Sweet Home always plays tough defense so coming away with 40 kills is impressive against a team like them.”
Senior Clara Stanley and her younger sister, freshman Nora Stanley, shared the team’s individual honors for kills with 13 apiece. Plus, senior Ahnika Tryon was a thorn in the side of Sweet Home’s attack.
“Ahnika came into her own in the middle with eight blocks and countless block touches,” Hilberg said.
Clara Stanley was also a standout on defense.
“Clara played a really good game on defense with 26 digs and serve receive passing a 2.1,” Hilberg said.
Nora Stanley had five ace serves and junior setter Ashleigh Brown finished with 28 of the team’s 34 assists.
Hilberg said she was proud how the team battled back after losing the first set.
“The first set was reminiscent of when we played the first time — we couldn’t quite get our groove,” Hilberg said. “In the second everything was clicking.”
Philomath trailed 23-18 in the third set but freshman Nora Stanley went on a serving run to tie the score. Sweet Home went up 24-23 before senior Clara Stanley followed with a kill to again tie the score. Senior Ahnika Tryon then had the next two points to give the Warriors a 26-24 win.
Philomath carried the momentum over into the fourth set and as Hilberg said, “We clicked on everything and never looked back.”
Sweet Home (9-11 overall, 4-5 Oregon West) is fighting for a spot in one of the four play-in matches with a trip to North Marion up next for that program.
Meanwhile, the Warriors (13-8, 7-2) will end the regular season at 6 p.m. Thursday with a home match against Stayton. The Warriors defeated the Eagles in four sets on the road on Oct. 3. The team’s seniors will be recognized before the match.
Philomath, which has clinched second place in the Oregon West, will then wait to see how the OSAA rankings shake out — the Warriors are currently 10th — to determine seedings for the state playoffs. Cascade clinched first in the conference — the top two teams will earn automatic state playoff berths.