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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Skyview volleyball credits leadership for strong start

Win over Heritage keeps Storm ahead of Union, Camas atop 4A GSHL

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: October 8, 2018, 10:50pm

As a four-year varsity athlete, Gracie Brenner knows as well as anyone the benefits of having strong leadership.

Among the qualities she can point to that have contributed to her Skyview Storm’s 5-0 start to league play, sound chemistry stands out.

That starts with the upperclassmen, she says.

Just how many seniors do the Storm have?

“Too many,” Brenner joked.

The answer is seven — seven seniors have anchored the Storm through its best start in years.

They have gained a foothold on the top spot of a 4A Greater St. Helens League that in the past two seasons have gone to Camas and Union.

“It definitely helps to have people who have played together before,” Brenner said, “but we have a lot of new girls in that have really just clicked and worked.”

As much was on display Monday night as the Storm made quick work of Heritage (4-6, 1-4) in three sets — 25-14, 25-18 and 25-5.

The Timberwolves came close to claiming the lead in the second set, pulling within 17-16, but Skyview pulled away, or as Brenner described it, woke up.

The Storm became out of sync — “too comfortable,” per Brenner. If Skyview is to continue at this pace, they will need to limit those dips in performance, they said.

“When our energy is high, we’re unstoppable,” senior Alexis Harris said.

From there, the Storm’s energy never wavered. They rolled through the final set 25-5.

The message from coach Shelby Swanson after the game? Take the level of play from the last set, and replicate it.

“She knows how good we can play and the last was how good we should have played all three (sets),” Brenner said.

Brenner finished with 12 kills, three aces, five digs and a block. Harris posted 17 assists, two aces and a dig. Sophomore Lia Hawken added a game-high six blocks and seven kills. Natalie Marshall, a senior, added 12 assists and four digs for the Storm.

Skyview returns two all-league selections from last season: Brenner, who received first-team honors and Hawken, a second-team choice.

After dropping its season opener, a non-league three-set loss to 2A GSHL power Ridgefield, the Storm (9-1, 5-0) have pieced together nine consecutive wins, perhaps most notably five-set wins over Union and Camas.

The Storm have a chart in their locker room listing their goals, their scope both incremental and season-long.

Each time a goal is achieved, they place a volleyball sticker on the board. Fall short, an “X” is entered.

In her four years on varsity, Brenner has noticed the lack of”Xs.”

“I’m surprised but in a good way,” Brenner said. “That’s awesome because we’ve worked so hard. It’s paying off.”

Columbian Staff Writer