Friday, October 28, 2011/lk
For the second straight year the Hood River Valley volleyball team locked up second place in the Columbia River Conference behind the Hermiston Bulldogs.
The Eagles beat Pendleton 3-1 Tuesday night and need to have rival The Dalles beat Hermiston to have a shot at the league title. However, Hermiston dispatched TDW in three games to lock up the title.
That left Thursday's game between HRV and Hermiston in Hermiston to be played for pride and spots in the 5A rankings.
Against Hermiston the Eagles served for match point in the fifth game, but Hermiston was able to come back and get a 3-2 win over the Eagles.
The Eagles were never really threatened by the Bucks in the first two games, winning the first 25-20, and then holding off a Pendleton rally to win the second 25-21.
Neither team played particularly well in the third game, with Pendleton building an early seven-point lead only to nearly give it all back late in the game. Despite numerous errors, HRV closed to within 19-18 before Pendleton closed the game with a 6-1 run to win 25-19.
After the lackluster third game, the Eagles came out on fire in the fourth, rolling to a 6-1 lead and then getting key blocks from Kaili Duffy and Meighan Frazier to roll to a 25-14 victory.
The win over Pendleton secured the Eagles no worse than second place in the league standings, a spot that was in doubt earlier this month after the Eagles lost four consecutive league matches.
However, convincing wins over TDW and Pendleton got the Eagles back on track.
"It took a lot of inspirational talks and better attitudes," said senior setter Tracy Mok.
"We just needed to forget those games and refocus," added senior hitter Logan Bailey.
Despite winning three of four from Pendleton this season, the Eagles entered Thursday night ranked behind the Bucks in the OSAA power rankings and in the ninth position in the north region.
The Eagles were hoping for a win in Hermiston to try and pull into the top eight and host a play-in round game.
However, they would up doing that anyway even with a Pendleton win over The Dalles.
The Eagles moved up to seventh in the northern rankings following their loss in Hermiston.
However the two teams could trade positions again after the regular season finale when Pendleton plays at Hermiston and HRV hosts TDW.
The Eagles won the first two games at Hermiston, only to see the Bulldogs rally back to win games three and four. In the fifth game the Eagles led 14-11, but were outscored 6-1 by the Bulldogs during a furious stretch in which the Eagles at one point thought they had won the game, only to have Hermiston pull out a 17-15 win.
Tracy Mok had 53 assists and 15 digs for HRV in the game.
The Eagles will close out the regular season by hosting The Dalles-Wahtonka Tuesday night.