Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
Ashley Ripplinger isn't playing like a freshman for the North Medford volleyball team.
Ripplinger's overall performance helped the Black Tornado post a 25-17, 25-20, 18-25, 25-23 victory against Crater in a Southern Oregon Hybrid match Tuesday at North Medford High School.
Ripplinger, a rightside hitter, recorded four kills and 13 digs. She missed only once in 24 service attempts and blasted two aces.
"(Ripplinger's) athleticism never ceases to amaze my assistant and I," said North Medford coach Erika Wright. "Her demeanor is consistent and she does her job. She's so effective with the sets she gets and sets the block in a way to allow our defense to work around her. She's the total package."
North Medford (6-3, 2-1 SOH) served well and established the middle attack in grabbing the first two games from the Comets.
In the third set, Crater (6-10, 1-5 SOH) jumped out to an early lead that North could not overcome.
"We weren't taking care of the ball like we should and that set the tone," said Wright about her team's loss in the third set. "Crater played real scrappy. They were getting balls up a lot of other teams wouldn't."
Sophomore outside Emily Carter paced the Black Tornado with 12 kills and 14 digs and Elle Bixler, a senior middle blocker, contributed 11 kills and 41/2 blocks. North received 34 assists, seven digs and three aces from junior setter Taylor Otoski.
For Crater, Kelli Gray, a senior libero, came up with 42 digs.
"The best aspect of our game was our defense," Crater coach Jen Mendenhall said.
Kelsey Strouse, a junior outside, had a match-best 16 kills and sophomore Destiny Fahndrich added eight kills and six aces. The Comets junior middle Paige Berriochoa had four blocks.
"I liked our perseverance to finish at the end and get it done," said Wright.
ASHLAND 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 2 — At Ashland, Class 5A Ashland outlasted 6A South Medford, 25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 12-25, 15-13.
Hope Baldrica recorded nine kills and five blocks, Hannah Borgerson nine kills and Jordan Tilley five kills, four blocks and four service aces for the Grizzlies.
Ellie Case chipped in six kills and five blocks for Ashland (3-6), which used strong serving by Olivia Rooney late in the fifth set to build a 14-12 lead. After South Medford scored, the Panthers (3-7) committed a match-sealing error.
Claire Sporer registered 20 kills on 42 swings and added five aces for South. Nicole Bell had seven kills and Natalie Castellano added five aces off the bench.
GRANTS PASS 3, EAGLE POINT 0 — At Eagle Point, Grants Pass prevailed, 25-23, 25-20, 25-18, in nonleague play.
Amy Robinson and Emily Henderson had 10 kills each and Baylee Simonsen nine kills for Grants Pass (8-4).
Eagle Point dropped to 1-9.
BONANZA 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 1 — At Cave Junction, Bonanza edged Illinois Valley, 26-24, 23-25, 25-15, 25-23, in nonleague play.
Alex LaFlamme had nine blocks, Naviya Dixon recorded 17 serves with two aces and no errors and libero Keyanna Augustadt turned in an overall solid effort for the Cougars (2-7).
PHOENIX 3, KLAMATH UNION 0 — At Klamath Falls, Phoenix junior middle blockers Adrianna Mereida-Ford and Sydney Amudsen played effectively as the Pirates registered a 26-24, 25-22, 26-24 Skyline win.
Mereida-Ford and Amudsen each contributed eight kills and five blocks. Mereida-Ford also had four aces.
Bailee Tally led a strong serving performance by the Pirates (6-2, 2-0 Sky) with six aces, and Baylee Toney added four kills.
Pirate senior libero Ashlyn Flynn had six digs and three kills, and setter Karlie Richardson dished out 27 assists.
NORTH VALLEY 3, MAZAMA 2 — At Merlin, North Valley senior Karley Hook had four kills in the deciding game of a marathon match, helping the Knights to a 27-25, 25-23, 26-28, 16-25, 15-13 Skyline win.
Haleigh Wagman led North Valley (2-6, 1-1 Sky) with 17 kills, four aces and 19 digs.
Rashelle Garcia had four aces and 36 assists, Kady Kantola four aces and 18 digs and Sydney Stone 29 digs. Four other hitters had nine kills each.
HIDDEN VALLEY 3, HENLEY 0 — At Klamath Falls, Hidden Valley remained unbeaten with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-13.
The Mustangs (9-0, 2-0 Sky) were sparked by middles Lacey Maynard (nine kills) and Chloe Lindgren (six kills). Setter McKenzie Cushman provided 23 assists and four kills.
Southern Cascade Hybrid
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, ROGUE RIVER 0 — At Rogue River, Cascade Christian tallied 16 service aces and edged Rogue River, 26-24, 25-18, 25-22, in SCH action.
Karlee Britton had 10 kills and Madigan Smith added six kills and six aces for the Challengers (5-4, 1-0 SCH), who trailed 23-19 in the first set before Smith served out the game. She finished with an emphatic ace.
Trudy Burns and Ellie Brown each recorded five kills and Paige Bruce chipped in 27 digs and four aces.
Middles Darby Gibson and Skye Downhill played well for Rogue River (0-4, 0-2 SCH).
LAKEVIEW 3, ST. MARY'S 0 — At Lakeview, Lakeview topped St. Mary's, 25-21, 25-21, 25-17, in Southern Cascade Hybrid action.
Dakota Rothfus led the Crusaders (4-6, 1-1 SCH) in kills and setter Maddie Gregg had a strong match.
Lakeview improved to 6-3, 2-0 in league play.
Mountain Valley League
PROSPECT 3, TRIAD 0 — At Klamath Falls, Taylor Bernhardt had seven kills and 16 digs as Prospect remained unbeaten (6-0, 4-0 MVL) with a 25-12, 25-16, 25-20 victory.
Marissa Raines added 12 digs, Alee Pinkerton was 19 of 20 serving and Savanna Breiholz was 15 of 15 serving.