Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
PHOENIX — The Phoenix volleyball team rallied to beat Sutherlin 26-28, 27-29, 25-20, 25-17, 15-11 in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs on Saturday.
The Pirates (18-5) will next face Banks (20-5) in the state quarterfinals at 3:15 p.m. Friday at Lane Community College in Eugene. Phoenix will be making its first appearance in the state tournament since 2004, when the squad took home a sixth-place trophy.
"They were so excited," Phoenix head coach Shonda Bursk. "I don't think they are going to totally grasp it until they are there. Tonight was a big win. It's tough to come back down two (sets). I am really proud of them."
Freshman outside hitter Haleigh Wagman had 24 kills and 18 digs to lead the Pirates, who were facing elimination before orchestrating their comeback in the third set.
Bursk said her team was playing out of character in the first two games, but found its rhythm at just the right time.
"They knew what they had to do," Bursk said. "Picking up the third game got things clicking for them. They were pushing where they needed to push and working hard."
In the fifth game, the Skyline Conference champions raced out to a 7-1 lead en route to sealing the marathon triumph over the Bulldogs (17-6).
"It's good to see we can dig ourselves out of a hole like that," Bursk said.
Bailee Tally recorded 34 digs, Karlie Richardson 27 assists, Baylee Toney five solo blocks and 25 digs and Hailey Wyncoop three aces for Phoenix, which had not played in a five-set match all season.
Banks, the Cowapa League champion, defeated Cascade 25-22, 25-27, 25-16, 25-23 in another first-round match on Saturday.
CROOK COUNTY 3, HIDDEN VALLEY 0 — At Prineville, top-ranked Crook County (20-4) controlled the action en route to the 25-9, 25-9, 25-16 victory in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
Cameron Allen had five kills and fellow senior Alex Folgerhaiter added 14 digs for the Mustangs (13-7), while junior Lacey Maynard had nine blocks.
WEST ALBANY 3, ASHLAND 0 — At Albany, West Albany cruised past Ashland 25-9, 25-9, 25-7 in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Phoebe Challman had four kills and 10 digs, Shelby Minor nine digs and Madison Douglas eight digs for the Grizzlies (13-10).
West Albany improved to 25-1.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, SALEM ACADEMY 2 — A setter interference call kept Cascade Christian's hopes alive in the fourth game, and the Challengers made it count by fighting off two more match points in the fifth to pull out a stunning 24-26, 25-27, 27-25, 28-26, 16-14 Class 3A playoff win at Cascade Christian High School.
With the win, Cascade Christian advances to the 3A state tournament at Lane Community College. The Challengers (19-5) will face Valley Catholic (17-7) in the first round of the eight-team tourney at 8 a.m. Friday.
Karlee Britton led the Challengers with 20 kills, Kayla Winter had 50 assists and Elise Gardner added 11 kills, 15 digs and four aces. Also for Cascade, Madigan Smith had six kills and four blocks.
The Challengers rallied from a 14-12 deficit to pull out the fifth game, with Gardner serving the last three points.