Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
LAKEVIEW — The Southern Cascade Hybrid's top two volleyball squads were practically mirror images of each other in their match until midway through the fifth set Thursday.
The difference came when Cascade Christian used a pair of mini-scoring spurts to break away from Lakeview, securing the match and its third straight league title with a 22-25, 25-10, 11-25, 25-22, 15-12 triumph at Lakeview High School.
With the score knotted at 8-all in the fifth set, the Challengers (14-6, 7-0 SCH) used consecutive kills by Karlee Britton, Madigan Smith and Trudy Burns to go up 11-8.
The Honkers (5-2) crept back to cut the Challengers' lead to 13-12 before Ellie Brown's kill gave Cascade its first match point. Alyssa Brown clinched the victory on her serve, which forced Lakeview into an error.
The Challengers, who conclude league play against Illinois Valley on Tuesday, received 13 kills from Britton, nine kills from Burns, and eight kills and three blocks from Ellie Brown.
Alyssa Brown recorded 36 assists and Madigan Smith added seven kills for the Challengers.
Lakeview picked up 11 kills from Delaney Hall and six kills, three blocks and four aces from Brandi Larson.
ST. MARY'S 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0 — At Cave Junction, St. Mary's kept Illinois Valley winless in a 25-15, 25-14, 25-8 Southern Cascade Hybrid victory.
Southern Oregon Hybrid
NORTH MEDFORD 3, CRATER 2 — At Central Point, North Medford was able to rally from a two-set deficit and keep its composure in a tight fifth set for a 15-25, 20-25, 25-18, 26-24, 15-12 win over Crater.
In the fifth set, the Comets (5-10, 1-6 Southern Oregon Hybrid) matched the Black Tornado (10-6, 4-2 SOH) point-for-point until an 11-all tie, when Elle Bixler and North Medford took over.
Bixler controlled the middle with 23 kills and 51/2 blocks. Emily Carter added 10 kills and Katy Carter tallied 27 digs. Taylor Otoski accumulated 43 assists and 10 digs.
For Crater, Kelsey Strouse racked up 18 kills and nine digs, Kelly Gray had 23 digs while Paige Berriochoa went for four kills, seven blocks and three aces.
SOUTH MEDFORD 3, ASHLAND 1 — Kelsey Bartlett's stellar all-around performance helped South Medford recover from a bad opening set to beat Ashland in a nonleague match, 15-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-18.
Bartlett had 21 assists, eight digs and eight aces, Grace Sporer 20 digs and one ace and Claire Sporer 13 kills and seven digs to pace the Panthers (3-8).
For Ashland (6-13), Jordan Tilley had 26 assists, three kills and two aces, Hope Baldrica six kills and four blocks and Carly Walker 12 digs and three aces.
HIDDEN VALLEY 3, NORTH VALLEY 1 — At Merlin, undefeated Hidden Valley responded after losing the opening set and closed the match convincingly, claiming the Skyline Conference league title with a 20-25, 25-18, 25-13, 25-19 decision.
The Mustangs (16-0, 9-0 Skyline) finished the decisive fourth set with 11 straight kills.
The Knights (6-12, 4-5 Skyline), who can secure third place in the conference with a win at Henley next week, received a 17-kill, 12-dig performance from sophomore outside hitter Haleigh Wagman and got 25 digs from Kady Kantola.
Rashelle Garcia put up 35 assists and three aces for the Knights, with Madison Stegemiller providing five kills and five blocks.
PHOENIX 3, MAZAMA 0 — At Phoenix, setter Karlie Richardson set the pace for Phoenix with 27 assists as the Pirates picked up a 25-12, 25-20, 25-15 victory.
Olivia Young, Adriana Mereida-Ford and Sydney Amundsen had six kills apiece for the Pirates (13-4, 7-2 Skyline Conference), who got 15 digs from Ashlyn Flynn and five aces from Bailee Tally.
ASHLAND 2, EAGLE POINT 1 — At Eagle Point, seniors Gabe Young and Andres Garcia each scored in the first half and Ashland's defense blanked Eagle Point's attack until the final minute as the Grizzlies took the first of two games between the SOH 5A rivals.
Young scored on a laser from about 25 yards out in the eighth minute to give the Grizzlies (5-4-1) the early lead. In the 36th minute, senior halfback Nick Chouard hit Garcia with a long cross right in front of the goal and Garcia punched it in for a 2-0 lead.
Eagle Point (5-4-1) scored its only goal in the final seconds when Ronaldo Rincones gained control of a ball after it hit the post and kicked it in.
ASHLAND 4, EAGLE POINT 0 — At Ashland, sophomore striker Jessica Harrower scored twice in the second half to complete a hat trick and help Ashland secure the SOH 5A title by clinching the three-game season series over Eagle Point at North Mountain Park.
Ashland's Sadie Bailey assisted on both of Harrower's second-half goals and also scored the game's first goal herself after swiping the ball from an Eagles' defender in the box and connecting from short range. Harrower made it 2-0 in the 29th after a cross by Bailey was cleared directly to Harrower. The two Grizzlies teamed up again in the 47th and 77th for Ashland (5-3-2, 2-0 SOH), which also beat the Eagles (2-6-1, 0-2) 3-0 on Sept. 28.