Lady Trojans upset Ponderosa in five

By: Matt Long
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A road win at home Thursday night is Oak Ridge High’s varsity girls’ volleyball teams’ biggest win of the season. The Lady Trojans, guests in their own gym while sharing it with Ponderosa, who is remodeling theirs, upset the Bruins 23-25, 27-25, 21-25, 25-14, 20-18 to keep their chances alive for a share of the Delta River League championship. More importantly, the win gives Oak Ridge a huge confidence boost. “If we had lost this match it would have been devastating, so whatever the opposite of devastating is is how big this is,” Oak Ridge coach Becky Potter said. “It’s surreal. This team doesn’t do chaotic and panic, but tonight they did.” The team was thrilled to win the match. “We had already lost twice to Ponderosa and we wanted to finish off with a win against them,” Oak Ridge senior Katie Vaughn said. “It feels good to beat them. We did it tonight with a ton of energy.” Vaughn was huge from the start, pounding the ball time and again from the front row and back. Beyond that, she served extremely well, had a few blocks and was solid in the back row. “She pulled through for us, as usual,” Maddie Chambliss said. “We can always count on her.” Potter added, “Katie’s been playing with a lot of passion, which is what we needed. She’s really picked up her game.” The Lady Trojans showed a lot of character in the win. The team led the first game 17-9, but Ponderosa came storming back to take the game, 25-23. Oak Ridge pushed out to a decent lead in the second game before the Bruins came back again. From a tie at 12, the teams battled neck-and-neck the rest of the way before Oak Ridge won it 27-25. With the game tied at 25, Haley Simmons had a kill and she and Vaughn blocked Ponderosa’s Lianna Sybeldon to win the game. Ponderosa won a hard-fought third game, 25-21, before Oak Ridge easily took the fourth game, 25-14. “We knew after we won the fourth game it was ours,” Arden Zuber said. The Lady Trojans almost blew it. They led the fifth game 14-10, but the Bruins rallied to score five straight points. The teams played to ties at 16, 17 and 18 before Oak Ridge won the final two points. Vaughn blocked a pass at the net to give the team the lead and her kill off a Ponderosa block gave Oak Ridge the stunning victory. “The win is amazing,” Zuber said. “I can’t find the words to describe it. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment.” The Lady Trojans didn’t play as well over the weekend at the Presentation Panther Challenge. The team lost all four games against some good competition. After opening with a 25-16, 20-25 and 9-15 loss to Deer Valley, the team lost to Mitty (25-23, 25-22) and Ripon Christian (25-18, 25-23) before falling to Notre Dame in three games, 22-25, 25-10, 12-15. Oak Ridge travels to St. Francis to face the Delta River League leaders on Thursday. Game time is 6:30 p.m.