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Grizzlies feel at home in sweep

All it took was the home crowd pounding on the floorboards, — leading group cheers and waving signs announcing Ashland is king of volleyball — in the SOC.

"There's a point where the crowd gets so loud," Grizz — starter Lindsey Stone said. "I actually didn't get nervous at all."

Ashland (2-1) appeared in control through the three straight — games the Grizzlies needed to defeat visiting South Medford (1-2) and — notch their second SOC victory of the season with 27-25, 25-19, 25-21 — wins.

The Grizzlies, who shared the runner-up honors in the — SOC last season, feel like the young team has found a rhythm and is ready — to contend for the SOC title. A preseason coaches' poll picked Ashland — to finish second behind Roseburg.

"We were a lot more consistent than we have been, and — our serving was pretty immaculate," Rohlfing said, noting the Grizzlies — only missed two serves all evening. "What we hope to accomplish is that — we'll come out and execute like we did tonight all season."

While South Medford challenged the Grizzlies in each of — the three games, the home team managed to persevere.

Game — proved to be the Panthers' closest look at a victory, — when South rebounded from a 21-16 deficit to tie the game at 24 and 25.

Stone threw down a kill that gave Ashland a one-point — lead, then Jessica Walters dove for the dig that set up a Stone tip and — the game-winning point.

"Instead of sitting back and waiting for it, I felt like — we were more aggressive tonight," Stone said. "Earlier this year, we've — always been on the defensive side."

In Game 2, the Panthers took an early lead and kept it — until a South Medford hitting error knotted the game at 17-all.

Ashland went on two three-point scoring runs that sealed — the triumph at 25-19, when South junior Emily Marshall served game-point — into the net.

Game — followed the same story line as the first two contests. — Ashland led early, then South Medford came back and built a four-point — buffer against the Grizzlies at 10-6.

The referees reviewed, then reversed, two calls mid-way — through Game — that cooled the steam the Panthers had built. Ashland scored — three straight points to cut South Medford's four-point lead to two at — 10-8 when a Grizz net violation was called. Walters questioned the judgment — and, following discussion, the point went to Ashland on a Panther sideout. —

Ashland used the moment to its advantage, scoring five — consecutive points en route to a 14-11 lead. Then a ball called out-of-bounds — on South Medford was put to the test by the Panther head coach. After — consideration, the referee indicated Ashland players had tipped the ball — out and the point went to the Panthers.

Ashland regained the lead, then the teams fought through — ties at 15-, 16- and 18-all before the Grizzlies wrapped things up with — a 6-3 scoring drive.

"Tonight I was really impressed with their poise and how — they handled the game plan," Rolfing said. "The big thing for us is to — keep our momentum going. We need to execute."

Sarah Holgen led the Grizzlies, with nine kills, five — aces, 10 digs and a block. Walters added seven kills, 11 assists and 12 — digs. Stone paced Ashland with 14 assists.

For South, Jen Mendenhall had 10 kills, three assists — and eight digs, and Chenoa Covaire contributed four blocks.

"It was so exciting," said the Grizzlies' Lindsey Stone. — "We've all just been so psyched. It was the best feeling in the world — to come out like this."

The Grizzlies meet North Medford, from which Walters transferred — over the summer, on Thursday.