When the No. 4 team in the state rolls into town, the Heppner Mustangs don’t back down.
Sydney Wilson had 17 kills, 47 digs and six aces to lead Heppner to a 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 22-25,15-11 Blue Mountain Conference victory Tuesday over Western-McEwen.
“This is huge,” Mustangs coach Mindy Wilson said. “It’s senior night, and it’s a team you have to beat. You are going to bring your game.”
The win secures the No. 3 spot to district for the Mustangs (6-4 BMC, 13-11 overall), while the TigerScots (7-3, 20-5) will be No. 2 behind Grant Union.
“It was four games at our place,” TigerScots coach Shawn White said of the first match between the teams. “When we play Heppner, it’s always a tough match. They came out hard and played well tonight.”
WMHS led the first set from the start, and had a 20-15 lead at one point. The Mustangs chipped away at the lead and tied the score at 23-23. Jenna McCullough served an ace, and Jacee Currin hit into a WMHS block to secure the win.
After a 15-15 tie in the second set, the TigerScots took control. They also took advantage of five unforced errors by the Mustangs to even the match.
Wilson served the first eight points of the third set for an 8-0 Heppner lead, only to see WMHS charge back behind the serving of Carrie Hazen to tie the score at 11-11. Hazen served eight consecutive points, including two aces.
The Mustangs slowly pulled away, and when Wilson returned to the service line, she turned an 18-15 lead into 20-15.
Aimee Turrell served the final three points of the set, including an ace.
Trailing by a set, the TigerScots never backed down.
The teams were tied at 19-19 in the fourth set, but three consecutive points by Emma Olson gave W-M a 23-19 lead. A kill by Bryce Thul sealed the win and forced a fifth set.
A back-and-forth affair, the fifth set was tied five times before the Mustangs pulled away.
A kill by Wilson made it 12-11, and McCullough served out the set for the victory.
Currin added 12 kills and seven aces, for the Mustangs, while Genevieve Smith handed out 19 assists.
Thul led the TigerScots with 12 kills and 32 assists, while Hailey Weaver added 18 kills and eight blocks. Jesse Manning had 36 digs and eight kills, while Keree Graves had 29 digs, Olson 33 digs and Tyree Burke 10 kills.