It’s an experiment that has true benefit and merit, but also one with a big hill to climb before permanent implementation throughout...
MURPHY — In its first action of the season, North Medford's volleyball team played crisply and effectively on Tuesday to sweep Hidden Valley in three games, 25-13, 25-17, 28-26.
Black Tornado head coach Erika Wright had praise for her entire squad, which didn't play in any preseason jamborees or tournaments but was definitely on top of its game against the Mustangs.
"Early on our ball control was really good and we served really aggressively," said Wright.
Senior outside hitter Emily Carlson and junior middle blocker Elle Bixler led the charge at the service line with good pace on the ball to pressure the Mustangs, according to Wright, while North's serve-receive game was also strong thanks to the play of senior libero Ashley Smith and senior setter Telsche Munson.
"Their setter and libero played extremely well, I thought, and we had a hard time dealing with the speed and power in which they played the game," said Hidden Valley head coach Robert Jackson. "As night got on, our girls played them tougher but we're a young team and North is pretty experienced and pretty good."
Cameron Allen had six kills and Lacey Maynard added nine blocks and three aces for the Mustangs.
North Medford jumps right into league play on Thursday against South Medford.
SOUTH MEDFORD 3, GRANTS PASS 2 — At Grants Pass, South Medford rallied several times before making quick work of Grants Pass in the fifth game for a 25-20, 16-25, 17-25, 25-23, 15-8 nonconference victory.
In the fourth game, the Panthers (1-0) survived a four-point deficit after three straight kills by Claire Sporer and consecutive aces by Liz DeVaughn as South forced a fifth game.
The fired up Panthers got out to a blazing start to claim the fifth game and the match.
Sporer, a junior outside hitter, finished with 14 kills and three aces while senior outside Brittney Cox had 12 kills.
The Panthers junior setter DeVaughn accumulated 35 assists and senior middle Bree Polk added eight kills.
SOUTH UMPQUA 3, NORTH VALLEY 0 — At Merlin, North Valley's Mikala Mohr had six kills and Kenzie Schmoll added seven digs in a losing cause against South Umpqua, which claimed a 25-18, 26-24, 25-15 triumph.
For the Knights (0-1), Brittany Stone added four digs and Lacy LaCosse had seven assists.
MARSHFIELD 3, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 0 — Cascade Christian had its moments against Class 5A Marshfield but wasn't able to recover from multiple runs made by the Pirates, who claimed a 25-10, 25-16, 25-14 win at Cascade Christian High.
Challengers outside hitter Karlee Britton had 10 kills and held her own at the net against the Pirates (1-0), who finished fourth at state last season.
Middle hitter Mackenzie Kelton added six kills and libero Courtney Case had 12 digs for the Challengers (0-1).
YREKA 3, ST. MARY'S 0 — St. Mary's had difficulty passing and registered just 17 kills in absorbing a 25-20, 25-20, 25-15 home nonconference loss.
Nina Console pace the Crusaders (1-1) at the net with four kills. Setter Maddy Gregg had 10 service points, with one ace, and middle hitter Dakota Rothfus came up with eight digs.
- GLENDALE 3, ROGUE RIVER 2 — At Glendale, Rogue River fell just shy down the stretch as Glendale picked up a 15-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-23, 15-12 win.
- PROSPECT 3, CHILOQUIN 0 — At Chiloquin, Prospect used effective serving and dominant net play to post a 25-14, 25-13, 25-19 season-opening road victory.
Junior outside Halee Hedgpeth led the Cougars' offense with eight kills and Taylor Bernhardt, a junior middle, added seven. Senior setter Heather Lass distributed 19 assists.