TigerScots finish on top

The Weston-McEwen volleyball team celebrates winning the Class 2A OSAA state championship Saturday in Forest Grove.

FOREST GROVE — Index fingers joyously lifted high above an utterly dominant Weston-McEwen state champion volleyball team on Saturday night.

 The TigerScots’ second Class 2A championship in six years was secure following a power 25-15, 25-14, 25-16 victory over the Faith Bible Falcons. Player of the Match Renee Baumann may have looked calm afterward, but inside were feelings indescribable by words.

 “My emotions right now are just like fireworks — they’re going off in every direction and all of my emotions — happy, excited, intensity — everything is just going off and I’m ecstatic,” Baumann attempted to explain.

 The championship was especially sweet for Baumann, who followed her sister Joyce’s footsteps as the second of seven Weston-McEwen volleyball sisters to bring home a title. She was the lone TigerScot selected to the All-Tournament team, and teammates Tiffany Cain, Morgan Entze and Haley Freske were named second-team athletes.

 Undefeated at 14-0 in the Blue Mountain Conference, Weston-McEwen’s state championship capped an impressive 34-4-2 season. Second-ranked Faith Bible was the third Weston-McEwen victim to go down in straight sets at state, buried after No. 3 Regis and No. 4 Bonanza in equally impressive form.

 “I had a special feeling about this team all year, and it just got better as the year went on,” said Weston-McEwen coach Shawn White.

 What made Weston-McEwen’s championship particularly momentous was a loss suffered in early October. Faith Bible defeated the TigerScots 2-1 in a best two-of-three games bracket match after losing 1-2 in pool play.

 Weston-McEwen was electric all year, looking hungrier to win each match than the last. Saturday’s games mirrored that philosophy, as Game 1 was the only one Faith Bible held close to the champions in for a while.

 Above all Weston-McEwen’s standout plays — a hard Baumann kill that drilled a Falcon to the ground upon contact, 14 emphatic Cain spikes that ignited TigerScots fans to yell, “See ya!” in anticipation of a kill, an ace by Jaymie Zimmerman to go up 11-8 in Game 3 — the most vital came via Cain, who killed five of her team’s final seven points to seal the crown.

 First-team all-tournament Faith Bible outside hitter Jackie Stien hurt Weston-McEwen badly the last time the teams met. Zealously slamming balls in Games 1 and 2, the leading attacker was neutralized for the majority of the match.

 “We shut her down,” White said. “By the end of the match she was tipping so she wouldn’t miss.”

 To Faith Bible’s credit, the team was not easily put away in the finishing stages of the deciding game. The Falcons fought desperately to survive down 22-13, forcing seven possessions before Weston-McEwen got to 25.

 “We could not have done this without 10 people,” Baumann was sure to add. “Everyone put their full effort and heart into it, and I’m so happy that I have my team. They’re like my family and I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

 Cain seconded her sentiment.

 “That made it 10 times more special to win because our team is so together,” Cain said. “I can’t imagine it with anybody else.”

 Weston-McEwen’s other three seniors, Baumann, setter Jordan Reger and libero Leanne Harnden — and all their teammates — could not have seen their season ending any other way. Neither could TigerScots players, coaches and fans, who for the next 365 days will soak up the title of Class 2A state volleyball champions.

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