Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Y-C libero Rebecca Whitchurch dives to dig a Newport shot during the Tigers  3-0 win.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Y-C libero Rebecca Whitchurch dives to dig a Newport shot during the Tigers' 3-0 win.
By Logan Brandon • Logan Brandon • 

Defense leads the way in Y-C's sweep of Newport

YAMHILL – Led by a sturdy defensive effort, the Yamhill-Carlton Tigers’ volleyball team defeated Newport in straight sets tonight at home, 25-18, 25-21, 25-18. The sweep of the Cubs improves the Tigers’ record to 4-11 overall and 2-7 in the Class 4A Oregon West Conference. Y-C, under the tutelage of second-year head coach Quinn Takashima, has doubled its win total from last year.

As a result of the persistent Y-C defense, Newport failed to develop offensive rhythm in all three sets. During the initial game, the Tigers flew to every ball and earned leads at 7-3, 10-5, 14-9, 18-12, and the eventual result, 25-18.

Four Tigers tallied two kills in the first set, including freshman middle blocker Felicia Robbins (two kills, one block), junior setter Aylea Dixon (two kills, eight assists), junior outside hitter Taylor Reimann (two kills) and senior outside hitter Cami Hurst (three kills).

Dixon only became stronger as the match moved into the later sets. She handed the Tigers three crucial leads in the second game, the first occurring at 3-2 on a perfect shot to the backline. Next, she rocketed a shot off a Cubs’ block, delivering a five-point advantage at 12-7. Finally, after an excellent Reimann serve, Dixon cleaned up an errant Newport pass with a kill down the line to make it 22-20.

The Y-C defense clamped down again over the final six points, yielding a lone kill to the visitors en route to the 25-21 result. Dixon recorded four kills in the second, while Reimann’s four serving points kept the Cubs out of sync.

For the initial moments of the ultimate set, Newport appeared to finally find its hitting confidence. The Cubs took an early lead at 4-3, and fought for every shot and dig.

Alas, Y-C’s court awareness and athleticism on the backline, including stalwart libero Rebecca Whitchurch, proved victorious. The home team extended its lead to five during the middle and late portions of the set, and Dixon’s two straight aces completed the sweep.

Dixon’s eight kills, two aces and a block paved the way to victory. Hurst chipped in with four kills, three blocks and two aces, Robbins added four kills and a block and Reimann blasted four kills. Whitchurch ably defended the backline with numerous digs, while Kyli Nagode helped patrol the net with three blocks.

Before the contest, the Tigers’ honored their veteran players as a part of Senior Night. Hurst, Whitchurch, Kali Sivula and Morgan Smith were celebrated by their teammates and fans. Fittingly, the four athletes began and ended the victory together on the court.

Y-C (4-11, 2-7 OWC) wraps up its regular season with next Tuesday’s match at Philomath (16-2, 8-0 OWC); game time is set for 6 p.m.

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