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Western Oregon sophomore Jordin Ramos sets the ball during Thursday’s three-set sweep of Northwest Nazarene.
November 14, 2012
Saint Martin's (6-16, 3-13 GNAC) at Western Oregon (19-6, 12-4)
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: New Physical Education Building.
Western Oregon at Saint Martin's
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Lacey, Wash.
MONMOUTH -- Despite attending Hawaii high schools that are located just three miles apart, Western Oregon University sophomores LesLyne Satele and Jordin Ramos didn't really know each other during their prep days.
It was more they knew of each other -- if you count the many times the two setters faced off in club volleyball play.
"In Hawaii, there's only like six clubs, so you see each other every weekend," Satele, who attended Punahou High, said.
Plus, they lived -- at least in their words -- really far apart.
"We lived on opposite sides of the island (Oahu)," Ramos, who played at Hawaii Baptist High, said.
Added Satele: "Which isn't far to everyone here, because it's like 45 minutes, but we're like, `That's super far guys!'"
The good news for a surging Western Oregon volleyball team is the two teammates are very close now, and with both splitting time at setter, it's certainly shown on the court.
Before dropping Saturday's match to Central Washington, the Wolves (19-6, 12-4 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) were riding an eight-match, 21-set winning streak, capped by Thursday's 25-19, 27-25, 25-15 sweep of Northwest Nazarene.
WOU - currently tied for second place in the GNAC standings with Central Washington -- was swept by the Wildcats for the second time this season, 25-22, 25-20, 25-17, Saturday night.
Despite the loss, if the Wolves can win their two final regular-season matches -- both against Saint Martin's - WOU should finish at least third, with an opportunity to move up should league leader Western Washington (14-2) or Central Washington (12-4) falter this week. Two wins should also guarantee Western, ranked seventh in the West Region rankings, a spot in the NCAA Division II West Regional, scheduled Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.
LesLyne Satele, far left, and Ramos (second from left) listen in during a timeout.
All of that is good news for a Wolves' team that has changed its offense from a year ago to utilize both setters in what has become a powerful offense, ranked No. 2 in hitting percentage in the GNAC.
"You know, I have great confidence in LesLyne, she's a great setter," WOU coach Brad Saindon said of the sophomore, who started 20 of 22 matches in 2011 and averaged 10.5 assists per set as the primary setter for the team.
Ramos, on the other hand, played in just 17 matches, starting two, as a defensive specialist.
That all changed this season.
"But something about Jordin just gives us a different look, and she just started playing better and better," Saindon said. "We had to figure out a way to get them both on the court."
Thus far, both have started 13 matches. Satele leads with 788 assists, but Ramos is not far behind with 695.
What sets them apart, though, are their individual strengths.
Satele, at 5-foot-10, plays in the front row during her rotation and is used as a blocker. Ramos, at 5-foot-4, serves and plays in the back row, utilizing her defensive skills.
Satele said that despite the change in her playing time, she's happy to split duties.
"I think it's great," she said. "I think a lot of matches last year went to five (sets) and I got really tired, so it's nice having Jordin.
"And she's a great back row player -- way better than I would ever be -- so it's like, `Go ahead girl, do it!'"
Saindon also likes what the vast difference in each player's personality brings to the court.
"Every team needs characters and they're characters, as you'll see."
So what's the difference?
"I guess I'm just crazy," Ramos said with a chuckle. "I'm like the little sibling on the team that everyone has to watch out for or else I'm going to get in trouble."
"I'm just pretty chill," she said. "I'm just calm and intense, so it works out."
Either way, the duo's very different combination has the Wolves clicking at the right time.
"They set different, they play different and it gives our team two different looks," Saindon said. "They're best friends and roommates so that's kind of cool, and they get to share the load with one another.
"They're just kind of soul mates -- two Hawaiian kids a long way from home, but they're both playing great."