East beats Calallen for first time
The Victoria East and Calallen volleyball teams have met plenty of times over the years, but for Titans players and fans, Tuesday's match may have been the biggest yet.
The Lady Wildcats knocked the Titans out of the playoffs in each of the last two years then beat the Titans during the first round of District 30-4A play.
The Titans shook off a rough start to beat Calallen 3-1 on Tuesday.
"I know they've kind of stepped on our toes in years past and knocked us out of those things that we've been wanting," said Titans coach Jamye Pauley. "It's so nice to pay back a little of what they gave to us."
Senior outside hitter Morgan Lienemann led East with 15 kills while Madison Hawkins had 23 assists and 14 digs to help the Titans improve to 18-10 on the season.
"We've been looking forward to this game," Lienemann said. "We were heartbroken when we lost the first game and we knew we didn't want to feel like that again."
The 21-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-23 win improved East's district record to 5-2. They took sole possession of second place in District 30-4A after Calhoun had a bye Tuesday. The Titans, Lady Wildcats and the Sandies entered the night in a three-way tie for second in district.
Although East came out on top, it was a hard-fought win in the fourth game.
After a Titans ace put them ahead 21-18, the Lady Wildcats scored three of the next four points to cut the lead to 22-21.
A Calallen service error forced match point and brought Titans fans to their feet in hopes of a win.
Although Calallen middle blocker Hollann Hans kept the Lady Wildcats alive with a spike, Anne Grayson-Wozniak answered with a kill that landed between a pair of Lady Cats for the decisive point and set off a Titans celebration.
"It was amazing that she got the kill," said senior middle blocker Amber Howell. "I was just like 'Oh my God, Anne, you did so well.' It was just momentum and energy going out there."
Alicia Hernandez added 11 assists and helped out defensively with 12 digs.
Although they had the comforts of playing in their home gym, the match started out rough for the Titans.
Defensive miscues and difficulty returning Lady Wildcat serves cost the Titans the opening game.
"Our serve receive in the first game was not very good and we practice it every single day in practice," Lienemann said.
East figured out things out defensively, built a seven-point lead and withstood an 11-4 Calallen rally to take Game 2 and tie up the match.
The Titans dictated the tempo in Game 3 and cruised to an 11-point win.
"After we won the second game, I think we had a lot more energy and were a lot more confident going into the third and fourth games," Lienemann said.
The Titans will go for their sixth district win on Friday at Gregory-Portland.