Ashland’s volleyball program had quite a run brewing from 2005-09, securing top-four state trophies in all five seasons.
EUGENE — Phoenix's first trip to the state volleyball tournament in eight years proved a little overwhelming.
The Pirates failed to play their best volleyball and dropped a straight-set match to Banks, 25-21, 25-8, 25-17, in the Class 4A quarterfinals at Lane Community College on Friday.
"We were a little gun shy," said Phoenix coach Shonda Bursk. "We were hesitant. We were stuck on our heels and uneasy about everything.'
Junior setter Ashlyn Flynn led the Pirates with five kills in the match. And Bursk credited the Pirates only senior, Delanie Tally, with demonstrating good leadership.
"There's not a lot you can do if you're not passing," said Bursk. "Everybody had an off night. Not a single person was up to par."
The Braves (21-6), the Cowapa League champions, were taken out by Astoria three games to one in the semifinals.
Phoenix (18-6) will face Sisters (19-3) in a consolation match today. The Outlaws, who lost a five-set match to Astoria in the quarterfinals, went undefeated in the Sky-Em League.
The Pirates, who won the Skyline Conference, were making their first state appearance since 2004, when they placed sixth.
"It was a good experience being here and watching the top teams," said Bursk. "When you're young and new, it's a little scary."
VALLEY CATHOLIC 3, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1 — At Eugene, Cascade Christian dropped a hard-fought first set, then couldn't overtake Valley Catholic in the quarterfinals at Lane Community College. The Valiants won, 25-23, 25-15, 26-28, 25-19.
The Challengers (19-6), winners of the Southern Oregon Hybrid, drop into the consolation round and will face Creswell at 8 a.m. today. The winner plays the Nyssa-Oregon Episcopal winner at noon in a match to decide fourth and sixth places.
Valley Catholic (18-7) plays top-seeded Corbett, a straight-set winner over Creswell, in today's semifinals.
Karlee Britton led the Cascade Christian with 18 kills and an impressive hitting percentage of .417. She and Valley Catholic stalwart Katharine Jesse went head-to-head much of the match.
Elise Gardner added nine kills for the Challengers, and MacKenzie Kelton had four service aces. Kayla Winter amassed 36 assists.
In the first set, neither team led by more than a point until the final score. Valley Catholic raced to an 8-0 lead in the second set en route to the 2-0 lead.
Britton had two big kills in Set 3, tying the score at 24-24 with one, then scoring the next for the lead. The Challengers won the final point on a Valiant error.
The fourth set was close initially before VC pulled away.