Ashland rallied from a 23-17 deficit in the third set to finish a sweep of Eagle Point and end a five-match losing streak in Midwestern League volleyball action Tuesday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
After dominating the first two sets the Grizzlies fell behind 18-8 and 23-17 in the third before getting the side-out and giving the ball to senior Sasha Aazami. Starting at libero for the first time all season on senior night, Aazami served the Grizzlies to eight straight points, including an ace, to help Ashland avoid a fourth set with a 25-20, 25-14, 26-24 victory.
“We just stopped making errors,” Ashland coach Laura Morse said. “(Eagle Point) took a time out and I told (the Grizzlies) that we were not losing this game. I looked at each of them and could tell we weren’t going to lose that game. And (Aazami) served really well.”
The win improved the Grizzlies to 4-11 overall, 4-7 in the MWL, and kept their hopes alive for a possible Class 5A play-in berth. Eagle Point fell to 6-9 and 2-8.
Besides Aazami, who had 20 digs, the Grizzlies were led by Grace Angermeier’s 30 assists, Alex Crane’s 14 kills and Emily DeVall’s nine kills and two aces. Aspyn Gottschalk added 12 digs.
For the Eagles, Ryleigh Gainey had seven kills and 15 digs, Nauvoo Beal 22 assists and 10 digs and Aliah Darling 18 digs.
Morse said Ashland fed off a lively crowd and put together one of its best performances in weeks.
“That was fun,” she said. “It was fun because it was breast cancer awareness night and senior night, so they had lots of energy and they really wanted to win.”
Ashland’s next match is another must-win affair for the Grizzlies, Friday at Springfield. After that, the Grizzlies wrap up their regular-season schedule the following week at Thurston and Churchill.
“We really need to win them all,” Morse said.
Jade Boucher scored twice, including a goal in the 54th minute as part of Ashland’s four-goal, second-half onslaught, as the Grizzlies punished Eagle Point 5-0 Tuesday at Walter A. Phillips Field.
The Grizzlies (8-1-2, 4-0 MWL) led 1-0 at the half on the strength of Boucher’s 26th-minute strike, then pulled away quickly in the second half, scoring twice in the first 14 minutes.
Scott Gustafson assisted on Boucher’s first goal and Kai Cheval beat two defenders and the keeper to give Ashland a 2-0 lead in the 47th.
Seven minutes later Boucher all but put the game away, driving to the center of the field before unleashing a rocket from 28 yards out that found the upper left-hand corner.
Ian Rinefort and Jahnoi Hall added goals for Ashland, which hosts North Eugene on Friday.
The Eagles fell to 3-7-1 overall, 1-3-1 in the MWL.
At Eagle Point, Mya Elder Hammond scored two goals and dished out three assists, powering Ashland to a 7-0 victory over Eagle Point on Tuesday at Eagle Stadium.
Also for the Grizzlies, Liv West scored a goal and had two assists.
The Grizzlies, who travel to face North Eugene on Thursday, improved to 8-1-1, 4-0 in the Midwestern League.