SALEM — North Medford fought hard to force a fourth set but couldn't spring the upset at South Salem in a first-round Class 6A volleyball playoff match Wednesday.
South Salem looked like it would ease to victory in the early going but ended up fighting off a late charge by the Black Tornado before advancing with a 25-21, 25-13, 26-28, 25-21 win.
Senior middle Elle Bixler was sensational in her North Medford swan song, blasting a team-high 19 kills to go with 3.5 blocks. Senior libero Katy Carter added 15 digs and four aces, and senior outside hitter Keisha Williams had seven kills and eight digs.
"Every season we set a goal of making it to the state tournament, and we didn't reach that goal — and that's frustrating — but in retrospect, every season you want to get better at the end than what you were at the beginning and we did that," North Medford coach Erika Wright said. "The kids worked really hard. You never want your season to end in the first round of the playoffs, but really only one team wins it all when you get down to it."
South Salem (17-10) finished as the third-place team in the Central Valley Conference, while North Medford (11-9) tied for second in the Southern Oregon Hybrid.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0 — At Portland, Central Catholic downed South Medford, 25-7, 25-10, 25-15, in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Claire Sporer had four kills and seven digs and Grace Sporer 16 digs for the Panthers (8-13).
Kenzie Cox and Nicole Bell each had two kills against Central Catholic (25-2).
GRANTS PASS 3, SUNSET 1 — At Grants Pass, Grants Pass senior middle hitter Emily Henderson went off for 21 kills and the Cavers beat Sunset, 27-25, 25-20, 17-25, 25-17, to advance to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.
Grants Pass will play at Jesuit (21-4) on Saturday. Jesuit swept Canby on Wednesday.
Danielle Taylor and Baylee Simonsen had 13 kills apiece for the Cavers (15-7). Emily Gill turned in 53 assists and Halee Rose 27 digs against Sunset (14-10).
MONUMENT/DAYVILLE 3, PROSPECT 1 — At Dayville, Monument/Dayville (13-4) topped Prospect (12-4), 25-7, 25-9, 15-25, 25-23, in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.
ASHLAND 2, EAGLE POINT 0 — At Eagle Point, Ashland won its fourth straight game to improve to 8-3-2 overall and 3-0 in the Class 5A Southern Oregon Hybrid.
The Grizzlies swept the three-game series against Eagle Point (2-8-1, 0-3).