HELIX - The Helix Grizzlies needed a win against the Arlington Honkers Thursday to force a playoff with the Condon-Wheeler Knights for first place in the Big Sky Conference's East division.
After starting the match lukewarm, the Grizzlies kicked into gear and took the win in three games 25-14, 25-12, 25-14.
Strong serving once again was the factor that sparked the Grizzly attack, as junior Crystal McMurray was 23 for 23 at the service line and sophomore Kylee Rogers was 17-17 and turned in 30 assists in a great all-around performance.
Senior Kaitlyn Muller turned in a typical dominating performance at the net with 17 kills while sophomore Britney Smith and freshman Chyanne Hack scored six kills each.
"We played much better tonight," Helix coach Tammie Parker said, compared to recent games. "We passed the ball well, got in a rhythm - it was a great night for the seniors."
The win sets up Tuesday's playoff with Condon-Wheeler, with each team at 7-1 in the conference and their only losses of the year coming against each other.
The match will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be played at Riverside.
"They're a good team and you have to show up and play your best games," Parker said of the Knights. "We struggled (Oct. 13) but the kids have been working hard this week to fix the little things and we'll be ready."
"We're expecting (the Knights) to show up," Muller said. "We showed up at our home gym, they showed up at theirs. It was close scores down (in Fossil), we just didn't have enough to pull it together, but we've got neutral territory and it's going to be a rough game.
"We know they're going to be hustling just as hard as we are so we just have to be the better team."
The Grizzlies will play in the Dufur Tournamnet Saturday, getting a chance to work any more kinks they may still have in their game.
SHERMAN CO. 3-3, CENTRAL CHRISTIAN 0-0 - In Moro, in a doubleheader, the Sherman Huskies smothered Central Christian 25-5, 25-10, 25-12 in the first match and 25-5, 25-1, 25-6 in the follow-up.
Brooke Gray was 18-18 from the service line in the first match, in which Anita Kock said she had some subs step up and play very well.
Jana von Borstel and Chelsie Cunningham were said subs, and Kock said von Borstel "did a great job setting" while Cunningham was 11-12 at the line.
Older sister Kattie Cunningham was 18-18 at the line in the second match while another von Borstel, this time Caitlin, was 27-28.
A third von Borstel, Shelby, got in the mix as well and Kock said she had a vary good performance.
Sherman plays South Wasco today in their homecoming match.
GIRLS SOCCERRIVERSIDE 4, MCLOUGHLIN 2 - In Milton-Freewater, the Riverside Pirates (6-1-2, 5-1-1 Special District 5) fought through the wind and rain to preserve their second-place stature in the league and reduced their magic number for the playoffs to one win Thursday.
Amy Kegler scored two goals for the Pirates while Lidia Velezquez and Gladys Navarro each added a goal.
The Pirates led 3-0 at he half and out-shot Mac-Hi 14-2 with the wind at their backs. When the teams switched sides, they also switched control of the match as the Pioneers put 13 shots on net to the Pirates two in the second half.
Following a yellow card in the final 10 minutes, the Pioneers rattled off two goals in two minutes, but ran out of time in their comeback bid.
"We've got to remember to play defense all the time, not just when it matters," Pirates coach Paul Keefer said.
Riverside faces La Grande Saturday, has a rescheduled game with Ontario Tuesday and finishes their regular season against Baker next Thursday.
"We're looking pretty good if we keep doing what we're doing," Keefer said of the team's chances of locking down second place.