CAMAS — Momentum in volleyball can be so fickle.
Just when it looked as if 10th-ranked Union was about to take the lead over sixth-ranked Camas in their Greater St. Helens 4A showdown Tuesday night, Ol’ Mo decided to switch sides.
The Titans led 18-15 after a booming kill by Kirah Boynton-Brown and were serving. Another point, and Papermakers coach Michelle Allen was poised to burn her final timeout.
Instead, the serve went long, the host team breathed a collective sigh of relief, and the Papermakers rallied to win the third set–and eventually the match in four, defeating Union 23-25, 25-10, 25-22, 25-21.
“The way the girls looked at each other just then, you could just sense they felt that there was still a little bit of hope on our side,” Allen said.
Camas eventually grabbed the lead on a Whitney Quist kill, and an ace by libero Maddy Plaff capped the comeback. The Papermakers then never trailed in the fourth set, building a 14-5 lead at one point and staving off Union’s last stand that got the Titans to within 22-21.
Allen credited Quist with getting her team back into the match.
“That was the best that Whitney has played this year in terms of her consistency blocking and hitting,” Allen said of the senior, who had 12 kills and three blocks.
Union (1-1 GSHL), despite missing two of its big guns in Camille Cowles and Marina Morningstar due to injury, came out on fire. The Titans built a 17-9 lead in the first set before holding on to hand Camas (2-0) its first set loss in nearly three weeks.
Still, the fact the Papermakers rallied to within 24-23 gave them the momentum, and they blitzed through the second set with Keelie LeBlanc leading the charge with five of her match-high 16 kills in the set.
“We just had to let that first set go and not dwell on it,” LeBlanc said. “We all came together. We had the heart and the drive, and that’s how we won the next three sets.”
Titans senior Natalie Birch could also sense the momentum shift from her side of the net.
“I play all the way around,” said Birch, who finished with 16 assists, six kills and three blocks, “and I could feel the change in our attitude and our energy. Once we lost a couple of points, we stopped talking and communicating.”
The two rivals meet again Oct. 19 at Union.