Here’s what happened last week in Oregon volleyball:
Jesuit in 6A. Damascus Christian in 1A.
The 2022 season isn’t even 40 days long and only two truly unbeaten teams remain among the 270 teams that play in the OSAA.
Jesuit (18-0) had only one match last week, a 3-1 win over a Westview team that is rapidly emerging as the main threat to the Crusaders in 6A this year. Westview (15-3) has only lost to Jesuit this season.
Jesuit won the Thursday showdown, because a great match from junior middle Lilly Lansing (14 kills) took the pressure off vaunted outside CeAnna O’Loughlin and Isabel Patterson, who combined for 34 kills. Sophomore setter Jackie Carle contributed 58 assists and 20 digs.
Jesuit has won two tournaments this fall heading into the Bend Clearwater Classic this weekend.
Damascus Christian (23-0) continued its stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in 1A, thanks to a 7-0 week, which included four wins at the Eagle Invitational it hosted. Damascus Christian swept each of its opponents there, no small feat considering that three of the wins, over Crane, North Clackamas Christian and Powder Valley, came over teams ranked in the top seven of the most recent OSAAtoday coaches poll. NCC played the Eagles the toughest, falling 25-21, 25-21.
Damascus Christian has never before won a state championship or even appeared in a championship final. Last year, the Eagles finished third in 1A.
There are only two teams still unscathed because Ida B. Wells, which had been unbeaten, lost twice at the Westview Tournament on Saturday. Westview and St. Mary’s Academy got the best of the Guardians, who are undefeated (10-0) in PIL play.
Contrast the two unbeaten teams with 16 that have yet to taste victory and one can only conclude that it’s harder not to lose than it is not to win. Of those 16, one is a former large-class state champion not too many years ago. Another is a perennial east side 6A power.
3A Gets Passing Grade
I remain convinced that 3A is the place to be for volleyball enthusiasts this fall.
Need more convincing beyond the fact that two of the top four finishers in BOTH 3A AND 4A are in 3A this year and ranked among the top six in the most recent 3A coaches poll?
Consider Friday’s clash between state No. 3 Horizon Christian of Tualatin and No. 4 Valley Catholic.
The first meeting between the two schools since Valley Catholic’s JV team defeated the Hawks in 2014 produced a match for the ages. Horizon Christian went down two sets at home before rallying for the win, 13-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-17, 15-13.
Both teams entered the match undefeated in the Lewis & Clark League.
Valley Catholic came out hot and took the play to Horizon Christian.
“They are a solid team and with very few flaws,” noted HC coach Jay Lazaro. “We never played them before so we didn’t know what to expect.”
The Valiants won the first set going away. Horizon Christian adjusted its lineup and played point for point with VC in Game 2 but Valley Catholic prevailed in extra points, 26-24, to go up two sets to zero.
A beautiful quick set from Sam McDonald to Emily Miller started Game 3 off right for Horizon Christian. The teams played side out volleyball until a three-point run from Ellie McDonald gave Horizon the breathing room it needed to avoid the sweep.
Game 4 was dominated by Horizon Christian setter Sam McDonald, who took over the game with great serves, amazing assists, and body sacrificing plays. McDonald tweaked her ankle near the end of the set but continued to play. Outside hitters Reagan Anderson and Sadie Eisert got most of the sets and converted swings into points for a 25-17 win that knotted the match at two sets apiece.
The fifth set was a nail bitter.
“Both teams wanted the win and nobody was letting up,” Lazaro said.
Horizon Christian rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to lead thanks to great defense and passing by libero Alexis Sumner and DS Nyla Karnes.
Precise attacks led to siding out with great efficiency as the game moved towards winning time. With Valley up 9-8, Horizon MB Ava Mreen toed the service line and served up four straight Hawk points. Miller had big blocks during the run and Anderson and Ellie McDonald scored on the pins.
Valley Catholic responded with a run of its own to go back in front, 13-12.
A side out tied the set and sent Sam McDonald behind the service line. Horizon took advantage of a Valiant error to earn match point. The next rally appeared to favor Valley Catholic after a sneaky tip over a double block appeared ticketed for the hardwood. But Sam McDonald saw it and made a diving one-handed save! The ball went over the net and surprised Valley Catholic. It fell on the Valiants’ side, giving Horizon the 15-13 win and reverse sweep!
“Great game by both teams!!” Lazaro exclaimed. “Can’t wait to play again soon!!”
This week we asked coaches to tell us about their “Most Improved” players if:
1. They had a marginal starter last year who has blossomed into a SUPERSTAR; or
2. They had a non-starter last year who became a starter and major contributor.
Shea Appleyard, 5-6 Soph. DS/libero, Cleveland – Appleyard was on JV2 her freshman year and is now an important part of the Warrior varsity as a sophomore. “She worked incredibly hard in the off season to improve and it shows,” said coach Sydney Hammond. Appleyard has passed 106 serves, recorded 42 digs and served six aces so far this season.
Ursula Harrington, 6-2 Soph. MB, Corbett – A JV player last year who swung varsity for the postseason, Harrington is now the MB2 for the 9-3 Cardinals. She has 11 solo stuff blocks on the year and is becoming a more efficient attacker every match. “She has quickly emerged as an aggressive and effective blocker and hitter and is developing the confidence and speed that will most definitely continue to result in steady improvement each week,” noted coach Angela Davis.
Emily Hegar, 5-10 Sr. MB, Central Catholic – A three-year varsity player, Hegar came off the bench for a few plays here and there her sophomore and junior years. Hard work in the off-season has paid off, as Hegar now is a starting middle for the Rams and putting up big numbers. She has 77 kills (hitting .250) and 17 blocks and is a team leader for Central.
Grace McQuain, 5-10 Sr. MB, Rogue River – A varsity starter the previous two years, McQuain has taken her game to an entirely different level as a senior. She leads the Chieftains in blocks and has been a blocking machine in Far West League play, typically getting 6-8 blocks per match.
Any coach wanting to add someone may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Mary's of Medford went 4-0 in the tournament it hosted this past weekend. The tournament was a round-robin style with each team playing four best-of-three matches on the day.
The Crusaders dropped a set in their first match, versus Lakeview, but finished the day winning seven straight sets.
Kelsey Dunn had 40 kills to lead a strong senior effort for the event. Senior libero Albie Borovansky led on defense with 41 digs. Senior setter Kaitlyn Hansen collected 91 assists. And senior Sydney Alexander served 45 for 47 with nine aces for the day.
Bend is officially 11-1 on the season in its first year back in 5A. Head coach Kristin Cooper said that playing in the Sept. 24 State Preview, where the Lava Bears suffered their first loss; was good preparation for the rest of the season and state playoffs.
“There is tough competition all day,” she said. “We were challenged in every match. Our wins and losses all were within three points. Playing such high caliber teams also allowed us to see where our weaknesses are as a team and where we need to focus to be the best all-around team we can be in late October. We battled some injuries and illnesses this past weekend which was challenging, but it also allowed us to put some substitutions in and see who can compete at that high level if we were ever in need of making changes to our line-up. I was pleased with the players that stepped on the court. I am happy with where we are at right now and excited to see that there is still growth in this team. We have not reached our full potential. It is our goal to be there in about a month.”
Portland Christian (6-3) has moved up to No. 14 in the 2A computerized rankings, thanks to a five-set road win on Saturday at 8-6 Knappa. Alyssa Baird, a 5-10 sophomore middle, led the way for the Royals with 22 kills…Baird also shined in Thursday’s sweep of Vernonia, collecting 12 kills, 19 digs, three blocks and an ace. Freshman outside Finley Marine had eight kills, 10 digs and two aces in the same match.
5A Crescent Valley (13-2) had a strong Saturday at the Mt. Hood Invite, which 6A Nelson (18-2) won. The Raiders lost to the tournament champions in a match CV head coach Troy Shorey said could have gone either way.
“We struggled with being able to finish the sets when needed, which is a great tool for us to use in future matches with tough teams,” Shorey said. “This will definitely provide motivation for the team to improve part of their game.”
Three sophomores, OH Bella Jacobson, MB Taelyn Bentley and setter Kamden Mitchell, led the way for Crescent Valley for the tournament. Junior libero Dani Street and senior DS Kiah Hollister also played well.
Junior MB Ellianna McMoore had 20 kills and six blocks for David Douglas in a Thursday tussle with Sandy that went five sets before the Pioneers prevailed.
Marshfield volleyball had great fun during Homecoming Week.
“One of the school’s dress up days was ‘Adam Sandler,’” said head coach Tammie Montiel. “The girls really wanted to stay with that theme for practice, so I let them keep their Adam Sandler outfits on.. We ended the practice with a little ode to Billy Madison and had a dodgeball tournament.”
We asked coaches this week to tell us about their freshmen making big impacts on varsity this fall. Those players denoted with an [*] are new this week.
Mayenabasi Akpan, 6-1 MB, South Medford – Akpan is a massive presence in the middle. Averaging two stuff blocks per match, she forces opponents to change their plan of attack. She also is improving on the offensive end while averaging five kills per match for the 12-4 Panthers.
Madi Andrews, 6-0 OH, Nelson – Andrews is an all-round player and terminator who stuffs the stat sheet for the 11-2 Hawks. She has amassed 129 kills, 48 aces, 89 digs and 15 blocks.
Ellie Bartel, 5-11 OH, Crosshill Christian – Bartel is an all-around player and a steady point maker for the 7-4 Eagles. She leads the team in kills and aces and is third in digs, just three behind the team’s libero.
Lillimae Brumble, 5-9 MB, Crook County – One of the Cowgirls’ most productive hitters, Brumble has used her 9-8 jump touch to produce 90 kills and 11 blocks over 44 sets so far. “She is taking charge of the front row in her rotations and producing points,” noted coach Kristy Struck.
Shelby Cenova, DS/libero, St. Mary’s Academy – Pulled up to varsity because of injuries and illness to Blues players, Cenova made an immediate impact as a passer, defender and server. “We kept her on varsity permanently,” said coach Wendy Stammer. “She has started for our varsity team since we added her to our roster mainly as our libero.”
Olive Clapp, 5-1 libero, Portland Christian – A starting libero who bring energy, fights for every point and doesn’t let anything hit the floor? I’d say she personifies the position!
Jada Johnson, 5-10 MB, Jesuit – It’s hard for a freshman to make an impact on the state’s best team but Johnson is doing just that. She is a very athletic leaper with great future potential who, even now, is taking pressure off of the vaunted Jesuit outsides because of her threat as an attacker.
Karina Lee, 5-7 OH, Cleveland – Lee has shined in six rotations for the Warriors. The freshman has recorded 52 kills, 128 digs and 24 aces over the first half of season.
Finley Marine, 5-7 OH, Portland Christian – A good athlete with plus vertical leap, Marine has been an asset hitting at the net, but it is her defense that has stood out most and helped the Royals win matches.
*Abby Maulding, 5-9 S, La Salle Prep – Maulding is already making an impact for one of the state’s top teams, as part of a setting tandem replacing a three-year starter who graduated last spring.
Ryland Minnick, 6-0 MB, Crosshill Christian – Coach Julie Bennett called Minnick “an unassuming player that sneaks in and makes things happen.” She is second on the team in hitting, aces and digs and is the team’s best passer. In her last league match she hit 100 percent (8 for 8)!
Madison Sherby, 5-7 OH, Hillsboro – Sherby averages 10 kills per match, with a high of 25. She also is a top passer and clutch player. Sherby also is fearless on the volleyball court. Recently, when Hilhi’s setter was out due to injury, she stepped into that role, something she’d never before done, and led the team.
Any coach wanting to add someone may email email@example.com.
This week, I 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:
50 assists or more in a match
30 kills or more in a match
30 digs or more in a match
10 blocks or more in a match
10 aces or more in a match
Here’s what we have so far…
50 assists or more in a match
Jackie Carle, 5-6 Soph. S, Jesuit – 58 assists in four-set win over Westview on Sept. 29
30 or more digs in a match
Hallee Hughes, 5-11 Sr. OH, Willamina – 30 kills in a five-set loss to Culver on Sept. 22
30 or more digs in a match
Kaili Kirkhart, 5-3 Jr. libero, Oakridge – 45 digs in a four-set win over Oakland on Sept. 17
Olivia Lyons, 5-1 Jr. libero, Warrenton – 38 digs in a four-set loss to Banks on Sept. 20
Angeleena Acosta, 5-4 Jr. libero, David Douglas – 35 digs in a five-set loss to Sandy on Sept 29
Jadyn Daviscourt, 5-6 Jr. libero, Cascade – 34 digs in four-set win over Stayton on Sept. 27
Alli Hu, 5-6 junior libero, Umpqua Valley Christian – 33 digs in a match
Delaney Mitchell, 5-4 Sr. libero/setter, Molalla – 31 digs in a 3-1 win over Cottage Grove on Sept. 6.
10 or more aces in a match
Annabelle Peterson, 5-9 Jr. MB, Cascade – 14 aces in four-set win over Stayton on Sept. 27
Jeryn Hildenbrand, 5-7 Soph. RS, Westside Christian – 11 aces in three-set win over De La Salle North Catholic on Sept. 27
Reese Rothwell, 5-10 Sr. RS, Burns – 10 aces in sweep over Riverside on Oct. 3
Any coaches may email firstname.lastname@example.org to add to the list at any time.
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:
Katie Clevenger, 6-0 Sr. OH, South Medford
Kortney Doman, 5-9 Jr. OH/MB, Crane
Hailey Heytvelt, 6-2 Jr. MB, La Salle Prep
Sophia Gregoire-Salagean, 6-2 Sr. OH, Newberg
Faith Meyer, 5-11 Jr. MB, Beaverton
If you are a HS coach and want to add someone to the list, by all means email me, email@example.com, put “10-foot club” in the subject line and provide the info in the manner shown above.
In this space, we list those players, playing Oregon high school volleyball in the current senior class and younger, who have made a commitment to attend a college or university of their choice and play volleyball. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to add players to the list, using the format you see below.
Emily Blagg, 5-8 Sr. MB, McNary -- George Fox University
Halsey Brummit, 5-11 Sr. OH, Clackamas – Dominican University of California
Kayleigh Carpenter, 5-7 Sr. OH, South Salem – Boise State (for defense)
Tatum Chase, 6-1 Sr. MB, Catlin Gabel -- Seattle University
Katie Clevenger, 6-0 Sr. OH, South Medford – Cal Poly
Maddie Corpe, 5-10 Sr. S, McNary -- Oregon State University
Mia Fedota, 6-2 Sr. MB, St. Mary's Academy -- University of Puget Sound
Gwen Fife, 6-0 Sr. OH, Sheldon – University of Utah (Beach)
Emma Frye, 5-10 Sr. MB, Tigard -- Schreiner University
Bella Gamache, 6-0 Sr. MB, Monroe - USC (Beach)
Bridget Gould, 5-11 Jr. RS, Marshfield - University of Oregon
Sophia Gregoire-Salagean, 6-2 Sr. OH, Newberg – University of Oregon
Riley Hackett, 5-11 Sr. RS, Westview – Southwestern University (TX)
Alexis Haury, 5-10 Jr. S, Silverton – University of Washington
Kennedy Hines, 5-10 Sr. OH, Roseburg -- Umpqua CC
Brooksie Isham, 5-10 Sr. OH, South Salem -- Air Force Academy
Vivi Kaelin, 5-10 Sr. OH, Lake Oswego -- Cal State Bakersfield (Beach)
Sidney Knowles, 5-8 Sr. libero, Sherwood -- Eckerd College
Kalista Lukovich, 6-0 Sr. OH, Nelson – Eastern Washington University
Grace Luttrell, 6-0 Sr. MB, Roseburg -- Linn-Benton CC
Olivia Maulding, 6-2 Sr. MB, La Salle Prep - University of Notre Dame
Julia Mitchell, 5-10 Sr. MB/RS, Damascus Christian – Spring Arbor University
Elsa McDermott, 5-8 Sr. OH, Catlin Gabel – University of Pennsylvania (for defense)
Ceanna O’Loughlin, 5-11 Sr. OH, Jesuit - Colorado State University - Pueblo
Isabel Patterson, 5-11 Sr. OH, Jesuit – University of Oregon (Beach and Indoor)
Tia Picknell, 5-9 Sr. MB, Oakland — Bushnell University
Hayden Pinard, 5-10 Sr. S, Roseburg -- Western Oregon University
Mia Starr, 5-10 Sr. S, Central Catholic – UC Davis
Jillian Stein, 5-8 Sr. OH, Bend -- Austin Peay (Beach)
Brooke Womack, 5-10 Sr. OH, Sandy -- Eastern Oregon University
Kait Wood, 5-11 senior MB, Sheldon – Rocky Mountain