ATHENA — A common phrase that coaches often say in sports is ‘Defense wins championships.’

Weston-McEwen volleyball’s defense might have not won a championship on Thursday, but it did help the TigerScots pick up another non-league win as they defeated Union 3-1. Union (2-1) took the first set 25-19, but then the Weston-McEwen (5-1) defense stepped up and led to some offense as the TigerScots finished off the win 25-23, 25-23 and 25-14.

“I thought we grew a lot tonight as the match went on,” Weston-McEwen coach Shawn White said. “I was really pleased with our defensive improvement, it was by far the best defense this year and led to a lot of long rallies for us.”

Leading the defensive charge was senior libero Chelsea Quaempts and her team-high 39 digs, while junior Keree Graves had 10. Offensively, Alyssa Finifrock led the team with 11 kills, Maddi Muilenburg had seven and Hailey Weaver had six, while Bryce Thul had 19 assists, Ellie Scheibner had 11.

Weston-McEwen next heads to Heppner on Saturday for a tournament, with play starting at 8 a.m.

HELIX SWEEPS TWICE

HELIX — Helix toppled both Stanfield and Mac-Hi with 3-0 victories in a tri-match on Thursday night, giving the Grizzlies five shutout victories on the season.

Against Stanfield (0-1), Helix (5-1) won 25-8, 25-21, 25-15 and then beat Mac-Hi 25-12, 25-15, 25-15. Sadie Wilson had a big night for the Grizzlies with 14 combined kills and seven serving aces picked up against Mac-Hi (0-2). Charmayne Bennett was also a standout performer from the serving line, coach Dianna Melton said.

Helix competed without senior hitter Kailey Mize, who was out with an ankle injury but libero Kyleen Stahancyk was back and that was a huge boost to the Grizzlies, Melton added.

Helix now has a week off until they host Riverside on Thursday evening.

IRRIGON 3, HERMISTON (JV) 1

IRRIGON — The Knights remain unbeaten in 2017 after beating the Hermiston junior varsity by a 3-1 score on Thursday night.

Irrigon (3-0) took the first set 25-8 and then dropped the next set 25-16, but finished off the Bulldogs 25-14 and 26-24.

“Our team battled, I am very proud of the performance of each and every girl,” Irrigon coach Lisa Connell said.

The Knights next play on Tuesday when they travel to Heppner.

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