The Gaston Greyhounds: the last truly undefeated team in the Beaver State
The Gaston Greyhounds: the last truly undefeated team in the Beaver State

You’ve found our fourth volleyball notebook of the fall 2021 season. Reading it is a libero’s favorite pass time!

Clear winner at Clearwater

Skyview, of Nampa, Idaho, traveled to Bend on Saturday and dominated the Clearwater Classic. The Hawks, who have two monster outsides in Eden Bower (BYU) and Alex Acevedo (Oregon) and a terrific sophomore setter, Alex Bower, trampled Bend in the semifinals and West Linn in the championship match.

West Linn reached the final by knocking off Jesuit, 20-25, 25-20, 16-14, in the other semifinal match. The loss was the first for the Crusaders this fall and the first time the 2019 6A champions have faced defeat since Oct. 19, 2019 at the West Linn Tournament, where they lost to Valley Catholic and Mountainside back to back.

West Linn head coach Emilie Wilmes said the key to taking down Jesuit, a team it hadn’t defeated since the 2017 state tournament in Carl Neuberger’s final season; was the involvement of its middles. Rayna Reynolds played a strong match for the Lions, hitting .333 with five blocks. West Linn also got terrific work from senior setter Shealynn Cecil, junior pin Addie Hoover and senior standout Emily Warmenhoven, who took the bulk of the team’s swings.


Jesuit’s loss left just two teams, 4A Mazama and 2A Gaston, with undefeated records according to the OSAA site. Both are 16-0 as of this morning.

Mazama, however, is only technically undefeated. The Vikings played in the Rogue Valley Classic in mid-September and lost, 2-0, to 6A Bend in pool play while splitting sets with South Medford and Grants Pass. The OSAA does not count tournament pool play matches played to just two sets…Mazama’s 0-1-2 mark in pool play placed it in the Silver Bracket, not Gold, where it won out.

Still, to be undefeated against 4A schools with one weekend remaining in the regular season is a remarkable achievement for a team that was 5-13 in 2019 and has very little experience playing in the state tournament.

“Our success is in the fact that we didn’t graduate any seniors and were able to build on last year’s COVID-shortened season,” noted head coach John Downey. “Having most all players back has made a big difference this season.”

Mazama is a well-balanced team led by its defense. Junior libero Kaylea Rietdyk and conference Defensive POY last season and is having another strong campaign. She, junior OH Ella Baley and senior RS Sandra Hill have kept the ball off the floor and given the Vikings many more swings for points. On offense, middles Isabelle Hill and Annika Ludlow, setters Bridget Fenner and Mallory Edmonds, and pins Baley, Sandra Hill and Mallory Menken have been very effective, so much so that Mazama, which has never played for a state title, is thinking it could be a factor this year.

“Our goal is to win the conference, which has still yet to be decided,” Downey said.

Mazama has a game in hand over Henley with a re-match slated for Thursday at Mazama.

“Henley is a very tough team and plays very good defense,” Downey said. “I’m sure they will be a very tough match this week.”

“We also want to play in the State Tournament and go as far as we can,” Downey added. “We will need to play very well to overcome the talent and experience of the other teams. With somewhat of an undersized roster, our defense will have to be very good to respond to the size and power of the top teams.”


Gaston is a true undefeated team, with only two regular-season matches and the league playoffs remaining before the state playoffs. The Greyhounds have played only best-of-five matches this year, as their participation in two scheduled tournaments was impacted by Covid. The first time, Covid affected Gaston’s program; the second time it hit the tournament hosts.

The team is led by 6-3 senior middle Mackenzie Berger, an Idaho State recruit; senior middle Grace Smith and sophomore setter Lexi Fern.

“Gaston volleyball has worked hard to become a competitive team,” coach Melody McMaster noted. “We have had a few really close games that we have managed to win. Part of our team's success is the work the girls have done during the off-season as well as in-season to improve their skills.”

“For the rest of the season, we are going to continue to do what we have been doing all season,” McMaster added. “We are fine tuning our defense and offense and my expectation is that our players continue to bring their strengths to every game. Gaston has not been in a state championship match but that could change this year. Each player knows what they can do to raise the level of their game so the goal is for that to happen.”

Mighty Mites!

In this space, we recognize Oregon “Mighty Mites,” those six-rotation or front row varsity starters who stand 5-6 or shorter. Here are the players we’ve uncovered so far:

Sandee Adriano, 5-1 Sr. OH – A four-year letter winner and Seaside’s lone senior this season, Adriano is outstanding in all phases on the floor and has grown into her leadership role as well.

Jazell Allen, 5-4 Sr. OH, Milwaukie – Allen jumps well, which helps her attack despite being undersized. Her defense is excellent.

Natalie Baker, 5-6 Fr. MB, Clatskanie – Baker plays six rotations for the Tiger. Last week, she had 28 kills, 32 digs, four solo blocks and seven assisted blocks. She plays much bigger than her height and is a player Clatskanie leans on heavily to get the job done.

Aryn Felder, 5-5 Sr. MB, Hillsboro – Felder has played middle all four years of her career. She is almost always the smallest player at the position but is a leading hitter for Hilhi and averages 2.5 solo blocks per match.

Lexi Fern, 5-3 Soph. S, Gaston – A six-rotation setter, Fern is a main reason the Greyhounds remain undefeated with just a couple of weeks remaining in the regular season.

Taylor Haltiner, 5-4 Sr. OH, Tillamook – Tillamook head coach LaVonne Rawe called Haltiner “a firecracker.” “She isn’t that tall, so her compromise is wit and coachability,” Rawe added. “She reads well and has a rocket float serve.”

Cienna Hartle, 5-6 Sr. MB, Junction City – Hartle leads the Tigers in blocking while routinely matched up against players four inches or taller.

Ellie McDonald, 5-6 Soph. RS, Horizon Christian (Tualatin) – A great athlete whose twin sister is a setter/hitter, McDonald plays like she’s the tallest person in the gym. She jumps well and is an asset on the right and behind the service line.

Tehya Militante, 5-4 Jr. OH, Century – A double-double machine, reaching 10 or more kills and digs every match it seems, Militante’s vertical jump and high volleyball IQ make her a capable attacker despite her smaller stature.

Mikayla Moore, 5-6 Jr. OH, Rogue River – The most impactful player on her team, Moore is a hustler who typically paces the Chieftains in kills, digs and even aces.

Skylar Rissel, 5-5 1/2 Sr. OH, Hillsboro – A six-rotation outside, Rissel is second on the Spartans in kills and averages more than one block per game on the outside. She has incredible court IQ and is a team player.  

Lainey Stranberg, 5-4 Sr. OH, St. Mary’s (Medford) – Stranberg is second on the Crusaders in kills this year, with 120 as of Oct. 11. “She works hard to find openings through and/or around the block,” noted head coach Katie Miller.

Emma Wagner, 5-6 Sr. MB, Sherwood – Wagner plays with the presence of a six footer. According to her coach, she “owns the middle blocker position with such skill and confidence every time she steps on a court.”

Hope Witham, 5-5 Sr. OH, Crosshill Christian – The foundation of the Crosshill Christian program, opponents game plan to try to stop Witham. Good luck with that! The senior is hitting .340 in league play, is an outstanding passer and tops the squad with 39 aces. “She jumps out of the gym,” said head coach Julie Bennett. “We are lucky to have her!”

Fantabulous Freshmen!

In this space, we recognize Oregon high school freshmen who are making major contributions to their varsity teams this fall. We debuted this list two weeks ago. Those with an asterisk are new this time.

*Natalie Baker, 5-6 MB, Clatskanie – Baker plays six rotations for the Tiger. Last week, she had 28 kills, 32 digs, four solo blocks and seven assisted blocks. She plays much bigger than her height and is a player Clatskanie leans on heavily to get the job done.

Mylee Blake, 6-0 OH, Siuslaw – A sniper on the court who is a kill leader for the Vikings every match, Blake also is a positive and encouraging player and emerging leader with an innate knowledge of the sport.

Moe Bondo, 5-7 S, Milwaukie – Has a great understanding of the game.

Jackie Carle, 5-5 S, Jesuit – Quick, athletic and confident, Carle is averaging almost 11 assists per set when she’s running the offense for the undefeated Crusaders.

Giana Elgarico, 5-10 OH, Marist Catholic – A six-rotation talent, Elgarico is the Spartans’ go-to hitter when a kill must be had. She leads the team in kills and also is the best passer in serve-receive.

Saralynn Grove, 5-9 MB, Amity – A versatile six-rotation player with an arsenal of shots, Grove also frustrates hitters with her big block.

*Mia Hunt, 5-8 OH/RS/S, Central Catholic – Coach Kayla Hambley called Hunt her “most dynamic player.” She plays everywhere, does everything well and with poise, is a consistent and essential passer for the Rams and one of the team’s strongest servers.

Paige Liles, 5-4 libero, Camas Valley – Liles serves tough, leads the team in digs and passes 80 percent of the serves.

Tatum Montiel, 5-10 OH, Marshfield – The Pirates’ kill leader in most matches this season, Montiel had 20 kills and 14 digs in a Sept. 23 win over Siuslaw.

*Malia Parker, 5-10 MB, Central Catholic – Parker is an efficient hitter whose flat, powerful serve recently earned her a spot in the starting lineup for one of the best teams in the state.

Sheala Simmons, 5-8 MB/RS, Newport – A fiery southpaw, her intensity and desire to compete have brought a sense of urgency to the court.

Lily Tegner, 5-6 OH/RS, Jefferson – A vocal, high-energy player, Tegner came into the program ready to dominate and she has not disappointed. Tegner is a kills leader on a senior-dominated team, as well as an exceptional teammate.

Quick hits

Top-seeded Tillamook captured the Seaside Tournament on Saturday. The Cheesemakers split with Cascade in pool play but swept the Cougars and their big hitters in the championship match.

“If you have ever coached, you know what your athlete is capable of, watching them day after day in practice,” said head coach LaVonne Rawe. “Rarely does that come out in an entire tournament, let alone an entire team. That’s what happened to Tillamook HS VB at the Seaside Tournament. THS had the best digging night so far this season. Can’t put it on one girl, cuz every single one was reading as a unit, hitting the floor, hooking that ball back into play, blocking with intent, transitioning back into offense, over and over again. It was beautiful."

Glencoe started the season 1-4 but is 9-4 since and in second place in the Pacific Conference. The Crimson Tide have a new coach in Heather Driver and the team is built around a sophomore setter/hitter, 6-0 Elisabeth LevickBurns won the Clash of Classification Tournament held Saturday at Powder Valley. Senior OH Kaitlyn Wright and junior libero Macy Temple led the Hilanders for the day. Wright had 37 kills and 20 digs and Temple had 24 digs and 31 receptions. Both were key consistent servers for the Hilanders, scoring many of the Hilander points from the serving line…The 3A Hilanders are 21-3 on the season and have lost only to 4A and 5A teams. “As Burns approaches playoffs, the players are continually working toward team trust and playing as a team,” noted head coach Paula Toney…  

2A Lowell won Saturday’s Oakridge Tournament. Lydia Plahn, Alexis Curry and Annabelle Pickett are three Red Devils standouts…Lowell was tied with Monroe atop the Central Valley Conference standings until Monroe won back-to-back matches on Monday and Tuesday. Bella Gamache shined for the Dragons, with help from Sarah Thompson and Maddie Gamache…freshman London O’Brien had 30 assists and Avyree Miethe contributed 13 kills and 20 digs in Warrenton’s sweep of Rainier last Thursday…

Sheldon has a commanding lead in the Southwest Conference, The Irish are led by juniors: Beaux Bruegman, who sets and hits; libero Elle Bruegman and 6-0 OH Gwen Fife…Senior Stella Scott and sophomore Sadie Scott are leading 5A Churchill, which has won six matches in a row and is in a pitched battle with North Bend for Midwestern League supremacy. Those teams have split matches, with Churchill winning most recently…Creswell is undefeated in Mountain Valley Conference play and tied with perennial power Santiam Christian. Those two teams will play twice in the next week to decide the champion. Emme Whitson and Kimmy Kelsey are big Creswell contributors…

1A Mohawk remains unbeaten in the Mountain West League. Kallee Eck, Ashley Roser and Natalie Vanderploeg lead the Mustangs…Eagle Point won its first match in more than two years on Saturday, when the Eagles took down Springfield in four sets. Juniors Abby Trautman and Sydney Boren teamed for 22 kills in the win. Eagle Point has a total of 25 wins over the past nine seasons. The team plays Springfield again on Friday…6-2 junior OH Kendra Bittle had a career-high 30 kills, plus six blocks, in Crater’s five-set loss to Thurston on Saturday. Kate Stidham added 53 assists and four aces…

Stat stars

I have asked coaches on our bulk email list to help me compile a list of astounding single-game statistical achievements! We will keep a running tally of players who stat at these levels for a single match:

55 assists or more in a match

35 kills or more in a match

35 digs or more in a match

15 blocks or more in a match

15 aces or more in a match

Here’s what we have so far…

15 aces in a match

Natalie VanderPloeg, 5-4 Sr. libero – 28 aces in a 3-0 sweep of Mapleton on Aug. 16.


Jumping 10-feet on approach remains a lofty goal for most volleyball players. If you get enough air to touch a regulation basketball rim, you have the ability to hit over blockers and pick your own spots. That makes you a very dangerous scorer on the court!

In this space, we will recognize those Oregonians who have achieved that lofty mark. We will add to it in each Volleyball Notebook as coaches tell us about the players who have reached rare air. Here’s where we stand currently in the 10-Foot Club:

Taylor Brickey, 6-0 Sr. OH, Summit

Amariah Clay, 5-6 Sr. MB/RS, Beaverton

Katie Clevenger, 6-0 Jr. OH, South Medford 

Emma Gates, 5-9 Sr. MB, Cascade

Sophia Gregoire-Salagean, 6-2 Jr. OH, Newberg

Sophie Scott, 6-3 Sr. MB, Catlin Gabel

If you are a HS coach and want to add someone to the list, by all means email me,, put “10-foot club” in the subject line and provide the info in the manner shown above.

Mensa Mensa

In this space, we will recognize “smarty-pants” volleyball players, those who have an unweighted GPA of 3.9 or better or a weighted GPA above 4.0. Here are the Mensa nominees we have received to date:

Zoe Alberty, 5-7 Sr. S/RS, Siuslaw

Sydney Alexander, 5-6 Jr. OH, St. Mary’s (Medford)

Jazell Allen, 5-6 Jr. OH, Milwaukie

Madison Balcom, 5-4 Sr. OH, Thurston

Emma Ball, 5-10 Sr. MB/RS, Crescent Valley

Stella Barber, 5-9 Sr. MB, Newport 

Lucretia Benolken, 5-9 Jr. OH, Cascade

Albie Borovansky, 5-3 Jr. libero, St. Mary’s (Medford)

Kora Botta, 5-8 Sr. MB, Milwaukie 

Taylor Brickey, 6-0 Sr. OH, Summit

Brooke Burns, 5-5 Sr. DS, Beaverton

Addy Childress, 5-4 Jr. OH, Willamina

Kenna Coleman, 5-7 Sr. S, Cascade

Kamryn Craig, 5-4 Jr. DS, North Bend

Kate Doorn, 5-11 Sr. S, Summit

Kelsey Dunn, 6-2 Jr. MB, St. Mary’s (Medford)

Natalee Federico, 5-7 Sr. RS, Cascade

Grace France, 5-4 Sr. S, Willamina

Adrianna Frank, 5-8 Sr. OH/RS, North Bend

Maria Fuller, 5-1 Sr. DS, Crescent Valley

Emma Gates, 5-9 Sr. MB, Cascade

Olivia Hale, 5-9 Jr. OH, Dallas

Stella Hall, 5-9 Jr. RS, Thurston

Ayrica Hansen, 5-10 Sr. RS, Rogue River

Kaitlyn Hansen, 5-8 Jr. S, St. Mary’s (Medford)

Hailey Harris, 5-5 Sr. DS, Beaverton 

Madison Heagney, 5-9 Sr. S/RS, Crescent Valley

Audrey Histed, 5-7 Sr. S, Cascade

Anna Howard, 5-7 Sr. DS, Rogue River

Hallee Hughes, 5-10 Jr. OH, Willamina

Laci Jespersen, 5-4 Sr. DS, West Salem

McKenzie Jonas, 5-10 Jr. MB, Crook County

Eleanor Kahn, 5-5 Sr. OH/DS, Beaverton

Josephine Kasberger, 5-6 Sr. OH, Crook County

Hannah Kendall, 5-6 Sr. libero, Summit

Kylie Kinsella, 5-8 Sr. RS, St. Mary’s (Medford)

Katy Klein, 5-5 Sr. DS, Summit

Emily Lettenmaier, 5-8 Sr. OH, McNary

Olivia Lewis, 5-7 Sr. S, Molalla

Shannon MacCallum, 5-11 Sr. OH, Summit

Sierra Martin, 5-4 Sr. libero, Thurston

Leah Mattson, 5-9 Jr. MB/RS, Crescent Valley

Kendall Maykut, 5-8 Sr. OH, Crook County

Jenny McKinnon, 5-4 Sr. S, Crook County

Avyree Miethe, 5-7 Sr. OH, Warrenton

Kaitlyn Miles, 5-8 Jr. MB, Marshfield

Delaney Mitchell, 5-3 Jr. DS/libero, Molalla

Carlee Murray, 5-6 Sr. OH/libero, Newport

Cami Oliva, 5-5 Sr. DS, Cascade

Annah Orloff, 5-2 Jr. DS, Molalla

Kara Paterson, 5-6 Sr. libero, Crescent Valley

Sophia Perakis, 5-7 Sr. MB/RS, Crescent Valley

Bailey Pool, 5-5 Jr. S, East Linn Christian

Malia Rauh, 5-5 Sr. OH/DS, Beaverton

Cierra Ridenour, 5-7 Sr. OH, Colton

Isabella Rodriguez, 5-5 Jr. libero/DS, McNary

Hailey Schwinof, 5-7 Jr. OH/RS, McNary

Riley Simonsen, 5-6 Jr. RS, Warrenton

Stevie Singler, 5-6 Sr. DS, Newport

Lainey Stranberg, 5-7 Sr. OH, St. Mary’s (Medford)

Sophia Terwilliger, 5-8 Jr. OH, Crescent Valley 

Kayla Toavs, 5-8 Jr. OH/MB, McNary

Natalie VanderPloeg, 5-4 Sr. libero, Mohawk

Abigail Warrick, 5-8 Jr. MB, Marshfield

Josie Wertz, 5-9 Jr. OH, Newport

Emily West, 5-9 Sr. RS, North Bend

Sydney Wilson, 5-4 Sr. libero, North Bend

Lauren Wyatt, 5-3 Jr. libero, East Linn Christian

Jordyn Wynia, 5-3 Sr. libero, Dallas

Any volleyball coach may add someone to the list by emailing, putting “Mensa” in the subject line and providing information in the manner shown above.


In this space, we list those players, in the current senior class and younger, who have made a commitment to attend a college or university of their choice and play volleyball.

Here’s who we have so far. We will add to this list in subsequent notebooks as we receive notifications.

Mackenzie Berger, 6-3 Sr. MB, Gaston – Idaho State

Kayleigh Carpenter, 5-7 Jr. OH, South Salem – Boise State (for defense)

Greta Davis, 5-10 Sr. OH, Sisters – Sacramento State (Indoor and Beach)

Kate Doorn, 5-11 Sr. S, Summit – University of Idaho

Sophia Gregoire-Salagean, 6-2 Jr. OH, Newberg – University of Oregon

Laci Jespersen, 5-5 Sr. libero, West Salem – Bushnell University

Emmi Marks, 5-9 Sr. OH, West Salem – Corban University

Tess Masingale, 6-3 Sr. MB, Jesuit - Cal Poly SLO 

Ella Nordquist, 6-0 Sr. MB, West Linn – Western Oregon University 

Sophie Scott, 6-3 Sr. MB, Catlin Gabel – Cal Berkeley

Emily Warmenhoven, 5-11 Sr. OH, West Linn – Belmont University 

Any volleyball coach may add someone to the list by emailing, putting “College commitment” in the subject line and providing information in the manner shown above.