There were screams and tears of joy after the Camas volleyball team crushed Battle Ground’s hopes and dreams during an emotionally charged fourth set.
Natalie Scholtes scored the tiebreaking and match points to help the Papermakers beat the No. 1 ranked team in the state Sept. 29, at Battle Ground High School.
“It was nerve-wracking. I just had to take a deep breath, get this ball and put it somewhere they couldn’t get to,” Scholtes said. “Everything was overwhelming. I felt every emotion. I didn’t know if I was going to cry, laugh or scream.”
Several Camas players contributed to the victory. Keelie LeBlanc delivered 13 kills, 13 digs and 7 service points. Colleen McAvoy added 6 kills, 5 service points and 4 blocks. Erika Weber earned 11 digs, 6 assists and 5 service points. Aubrey Stanton collected 36 assists, 8 service points, 5 digs and 4 aces. Scholtes and Joan Varsek each scored 6 kills, and Anna Roche chimed in with 4 kills. Halle Sessions had 9 digs and 6 service points. Madison Pfaff finished with 10 digs and 5 service points.
Battle Ground pounded Camas 25-13 in the first set. Brooke Van Sickle, the 2014 Player of the Year in the league, overwhelmed the Papermakers with 4 aces and 3 kills.
Camas head coach Michelle Allen had a heart-to-heart conversation with the girls.
“You could tell in that first game that they were scared,” Allen said. “I told the girls, it’s not about wins and losses. It’s about us coming back and being a family. I’m very, very proud of them. They came out with heart and desire.”
Weber played a huge roll in getting the Papermakers back on track by digging up some powerful hits and serves by Van Sickle and the rest of the Tigers.
“You really have to have good self talk, and you can’t be afraid of the ball,” Weber said. “I just told myself, ‘this is my ball,’ every time. It usually led to a good outcome.”
Camas claimed the second set 25-17 to tie the match up. LeBlanc hammered home points, and McAvoy and Roche added a few stuffs at the net. Stanton clinched the set with two aces.
The Papermakers rolled 25-14 in the third set. Stanton opened the session with her third ace. LeBlanc and McAvoy came through with a fury of hits and blocks at the net.
Once again, the ball came back to Stanton and she delivered the winning serve.
“I’m so happy I could do that for my team,” Stanton said. “I went back there and told myself I could do it, and I did. It was awesome.”
It was all hands on deck during a fourth set that featured 13 ties. Roche, LeBlanc and Varsek scored points and Weber added an ace to give Camas a 5-3 lead. Van Sickle tied the score on a kill and an ace. A tip-in by Scholtes, and a block and a kill by McAvoy put the Papermakers back up 10-8. Battle Ground rallied again to tie it at 13-13.
The Tigers gained leads of 14-13 and 17-16 down the stretch, but Camas continued to come up with an equalizer. The Papermakers were determined not to let their advantage slip away and have to play a fifth set.
“We were just pushing for a kill or anything, and being as loud as we could,” Weber said. “We told ourselves the only thing we’re losing tonight is our voices.”
LeBlanc won two battles at the net and served an ace to give Camas a 22-20 lead. Battle Ground tied the match for the last time at 23-23, before Scholtes finished the deal.
“Everyone has their off days. I’m just glad I could show up today and play well,” Scholtes said. “I’ve never been on a team where I’ve felt so much love and support. We’re just one big family.”
Camas (5-0) stands on top of the league standings. After tonight’s match at Evergreen, the Papermakers play every team in the league one more time.
“You have to keep going up, little by little each day,” Allen said. “Never go in the opposite direction.”
Camas and Battle Ground play again Thursday, Oct. 22, in the Papermaker Warehouse.
“There’s still more to go and so much more to win,” Weber said. “It’s all about getting back in the gym and working harder.”