The Lebanon Warriors came back from two sets down to force a fifth set at home against the Bend Lava Bears on Aug. 29. The Warriors lost the match in the last set 15-7.
The opening match was a rematch of the state tournament playoff last year where the Lava Bears beat the Warriors in straight sets. Forcing a fifth set was a moral victory for the Warriors.
After Lebanon dropped a competitive set 23-25, the Warriors were destroyed in the second game 9-25 as Lebanon just couldn't convert spikes into points.
Just as the Lava Bears looked liked they had Lebanon's number heading into the third game, coach Jorden Swanson made an offensive change to move their most dominant offensive player Lauren Christie from the middle to the outside.
"(After the second set), honestly we changed our lineup, I realized that setting balls to the outside pin was going to be effective for us," Swanson said. "They bought into a game plan that I've never brought out before, and it worked."
The offensive change worked and the Warriors took the third set 25-21 as they nearly batted a thousand on the shots they took. The Warriors gained some confidence and momentum was back on their side.
"It was a really nice feeling because our state game wasn't what we wanted last year," Christie said of forcing the fifth set. "This just showed us what are team can be this year."
Christie had 15 kills for the night, along with two service aces, followed close behind by her younger sister, Nicole Christie and Cheyenne Whitebird who both earned seven kills.
The Warriors started with a 3-0 run to start the first set with a kiss from Christie, a service ace from Bri Marquez and a block to give the Warriors their best start on the night. It was a back and forth battle after that, but the Warriors once again came out on top 25-21.
Christie added the team's original strategy wasn't working.
"We weren't getting what we wanted with me in the middle," Christie said. "I got more sets to the outside and we were able to execute more, and I think our outside stepped up really well the whole match."
In the rubber match, points went back and forth until the set was tied 5-5, at that point the Lava Bears found their stride and went on an 11-2 run to close out the night 15-7.
"I'm really excited. It was huge for us," Swanson said. "I think today we showed what we're made of, and that we're willing to face things that may be challenging. I couldn't be happier with my team right now."
Set scores were 23-25, 9-25, 25-21, 24-21, 7-15.
The Warriors lost to Vallet Catholic at the Southridge tournament on Sept. 2.
The Warriors faced Dallas at home on Sept. 5. for the league opener. The results of that match were not available at press time.