The wheat started to separate from the chuff at Weston-McEwen Saturday, as the TigerScots and Elgin each picked up wins over Irrigon and Pilot Rock in a four-way meeting of Blue Mountain?Conference opponents.
The day started with the TigerScots romping Irrigon in straight sets, 25-8, 25-14, 25-17. In an almost identical match, the Knights then fell to Elgin 25-11, 25-13, 25-16.
The Huskies went on to beat Pilot Rock in three games, 25-16, 25-10, 25-18. Weston-McEwen finished off the day by dispatching the Rockets 25-7, 25-16, 25-17.
Elgin (14-7, 3-0 BMC) and?Weston-McEwen (19-4, 3-0 BMC) did not play each other Saturday, but the TigerScots already beat the Huskies once this year in a non-league tilt on Sept. 19 at the Weston-McEwen Invitational. The two teams - already separating themselves as the ones to beat in the?BMC - meet Oct. 8 and on Oct. 27, the last game of the regular season and one that could decide the league title.
"We played them once already at our home tournament and it went to a tie-break game," said TigerScots head coach?Shawn White. "They play great defense.?In a lot of ways they look like us, a lot.?They have a real solid team top to bottom."
The TigerScots played well in their two matches, though White was unimpressed with his team's focus after they won each of their first games by wide margins.
"We continue to play better at times but we continue, particularly when we win that first one big, to get a little complacent and make some errors in the second one, third one," White said. "I'm looking for us to get a little more consistent. We don't seem to have problems when we play tighter games."
TigerScots setter Morgan Entze had a strong day before injuring her left ankle. She had 24 assists, four kills and 10 aces before leaving in the middle of game two against Pilot Rock. Junior Tiffany Cain had a career day with 11 kills against Irrigon and 12 against Pilot Rock, both better than her previous high of nine in a match.
For Irrigon (3-7, 0-3 BMC), the day was more about trying to find some team leadership, said head coach Blaine Ganvoa.
"Right now, we've been struggling a little bit," he said. "We're looking for some leadership. It's the missing ingredient. There's days where we do everything right and can play at a high level, but we're not consistent."
Meanwhile, the Rockets (3-9, 1-2?BMC) are going through a rebuilding year with a new system.
"Right now what we need to work on is our mental (game)," said Rockets head coach Robyn Deter.?"We need to stay in the game the whole time mentally. Ability wise we have it."
Liz Willingham led the Rockets with 11 kills, while Erica Drake added nine kills.?Ashley Gambill had 32 digs for Pilot Rock.
An added benefit of playing the "double-dual" format that each coach touched on is how it prepares teams for playing in the state playoffs, should they make it.
"Volleyball is a tournament sport," White said. "At state, you're going to have to play more than once in a day. Having a double match in a day really helps prepare us.?A lot of the other leagues have started to mimic us because of some of the success our league has had.?We think this is part of that success."