With dominance on their serves and strong play at the net, the Cogs defeated the Hawks 25-18, 25-10, improving to 22-1 on the season.
G-K opened both sets with a 5-0 run.
Senior Hannah Langton served two aces around an Alayna Pierce kill to spark the first opening run. The momentum continued from there.
Senior Alivia Keegan hammered a kill to stretch the lead to 18-7, then Oregon rallied with six straight points. Hawks’ sophomore Skylar Bishop stuffed back-to-back blocks to make it an 18-12 margin, then a G-K hitting error cut it to 18-13 moments later. But the Cogs were quick to recover.
Keegan hammered three kills during a seven-point stretch, then served an ace to close the first set.
“I think it just boosts our confidence, and it helps us run our offense,” G-K junior Mia Wise said about the 5-0 opening runs. “I think it just gives us motivation.”
Wise was a force for the Cogs in the second set. After a Pierce kill scored the first point, Wise served four straight aces for a 5-0 lead.
“I think it boosts our positivity; it made us all hyped up for the next set, and it really destroyed the other team’s mindsets,” Wise said about the onslaught of aces. “I think starting off strong in the first set boosted my confidence for the second one. After I started serving a few, I just kept going.”
Bishop stuffed another block to draw Oregon within 6-4, but the rally was short-lived. A Pierce kill ignited a 19-6 closing run. Pierce served back-to-back aces for a 12-5 lead, then Keegan slammed a kill in front of consecutive aces for a 17-7 lead. Wise served four aces in a span of five points to make it 23-9 G-K, and Pierce slammed two kills around a Cogs’ serving error to finish the win.
Wise tallied 10 aces, eight assists and four digs; Pierce totaled 13 kills, three aces and three digs, Keegan compiled nine kills, seven assists, five digs and three aces; and Langton added 11 digs, four assists and two aces.
Oregon was led by three seniors. Kenna Wubbena totaled five kills and four digs, Rylie Robertson tallied six digs, and Lexi Ebert chipped in five assists and two digs.
“We went out pretty much with nothing to lose, and I told the girls, ‘We gotta be aggressive. We can’t give up any free balls. We gotta get touches. We gotta get hands up on every block.’ And I felt like we really did that on every play and stuck right with them,” Oregon coach Farrell Cain said. “We started out too slow, and we kind of wasted our opportunity in the beginning, and just couldn’t catch up. And came out the second game and struggled a little bit again to start the second game, and once we got going, we had an injury that kind of took us out of it.
“They have a multitude of good players, and we told our team that they’re gonna get kills, they’re good players. We have to just move on to the next ball. They’re the defending state champs, so we knew it was going to be a big competition, and the only thing that you can do is give it 100% effort, and I felt like our team did that.”