Union did everything it could to force a fourth set against the Camas volleyball team, but the Papermakers persevered and swept their rivals to remain perfect in league.
“We definitely dug down deep for that third set. It was all about heart and it was all about energy,” said senior outside hitter Keelie LeBlanc. “Every person on the team stepped up, and that’s how we got that third-set win.”
The Papermakers earned a 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 victory over the Titans Oct. 19, at Union High School. LeBlanc collected 12 kills, 12 digs and two aces. Aubrey Stanton added 21 assists, 16 digs, six kills and an ace. Whitney Quist delivered 10 kills, five digs and a block. Madison Pfaff racked up 23 assists and a few aces. Madison Gilchrist gathered 19 assists and five digs. Emma Villaluz earned eight digs and six kills. Marianna Payne finished with five blocks, four kills, four digs and an ace. Mary Pipkin had four digs, three kills and a block.
“We’ve been getting along so well. It just keeps getting better and better every day. Great group of girls,” Quist said. “I’ll remember all the celebrations after every big point. Us coming together as a team and winning as a team, and not individuals.”
Camas cruised through the first set on powerful hits by Quist and LeBlanc, and blocks by Payne and Pipkin. LeBlanc scored the first two points in the first set and the first two points in the second set.
Stanton kept setting the ball up perfectly for LeBlanc and Quist to hammer it home. Stanton also scored some key points of her own at the net.
Union led by three in the third set, but Camas continued to rally. The Papermakers scored seven in a row to take command on kills by Quist and Villaluz, an ace by Pfaff, a big block by Payne and another ace by Pfaff.
The Titans tied the score again, at 22-22. LeBlanc then delivered a kill and an ace to set up match point for Camas. Pipkin won a battle at the net to secure the win for the Papermakers.
“It was all about self-talk and telling myself, ‘I got this,'” LeBlanc said. “And it was just like wanting to win. So, it was just putting a lot of power behind the serves and just telling myself I’m going to get it in. That helped me get it in.”
Head coach Michelle Allen looked LeBlanc in the eye before she served for those final two points.
“I looked at her, especially during that serve, and said, ‘I believe in you. You can do this,'” Allen said. “She was like, ‘OK, coach,’ and she went back there and made those two serves.”
Camas also prevented Union from scoring more than three points in a row at any time during the match.
“That’s the most they got on us, and then we turned it around,” Allen said.
After defeating Olympia and Battle Ground Monday and Tuesday, the league champion Papermakers look forward to Senior Night against Heritage Thursday. The match starts at 7 p.m., at Camas High School.
“For us five seniors, this is our last home match, so we just want to leave it all out on the court and play our best, and just take that energy into the postseason to finally reach our goal of going to state,” LeBlanc said. “We’re more than just a team, we’re a family. And the heart is what is going to take us all the way to state this season.”