Somewhat under the radar given its Class 3A status, Cascade Christian's volleyball program has put together one of the more prolific runs in recent history.

Somewhat under the radar given its Class 3A status, Cascade Christian's volleyball program has put together one of the more prolific runs in recent history.

The Challengers (2-0) kept one streak alive but had another snapped last Thursday when they outlasted host Coquille in a five-game Sunset League thriller.

Still alive thanks to the 17-25, 30-28, 25-22, 25-27, 20-18 triumph is Cascade Christian's 44-match winning streak in league play. The streak dates back to Oct. 18, 2005, and includes undefeated campaigns the past three seasons.

So, what's the secret?

"I think that, as a whole, the kids come from very disciplined households and it kind of feeds over to how they play in school," second-year Challengers head coach Sabrina Schubert said Monday. "They're very disciplined, work hard and are very coachable. They just don't accept anything less than their best every single day and really, really push themselves to be successful."

The Challengers have gone 14-0 (2008) and 12-0 (2007) since joining the Sunset League two years ago, and prior to that went 10-0 to win the Southern Cascade League crown in 2006 and 12-2 to finish runner-up in 2005.

The last time Cascade Christian lost a league match was a doubleheader at Lakeview on Oct. 15, 2005, when the host Honkers won 3-0 and 3-2.

As impressive as the conference winning streak may be, it doesn't fully tell how dominant the Challengers have been. Prior to last Thursday's match, Cascade Christian had not lost a single game in 15 straight league outings and in 35 of its prior 37 matchups — the two exceptions coming when the Challengers were extended to four games twice in 2007.

"I don't know how to word it, but losing to a lot of these girls on this team isn't an option," added Schubert, whose team place third at state last season. "There's definitely a difference between playing not to lose and playing to win, and the girls step on the court every day playing to win. It's going to take a lot to interrupt them during a game."

That certainly rang true last Thursday when the Challengers hit the road minus all-state senior setter Breanna Holtz.

Senior McKenzie Allen and sophomore Haley Casebier filled the void and combined for 46 assists in what Schubert said was a character-building performance. Typically a right-side defender, Allen notched 26 assists to complement 20 assists and nine digs by Casebier, who is a right-side hitter.

The Challengers also were the recipient of a career-high 29 kills by senior Becca Sellers, and 20 kills by sophomore Amanda Kinney.

"Becca was just Becca," said Schubert of the all-state outside hitter and reigning Sunset League player of the year. "She's never off. She's definitely our team's rock. The girl is an athlete and an asset, and I'm so happy she's ours."

As much as she's helped play a part in the program's winning streak, Schubert said that a great deal of credit needs to go to the Challenger coaches and players who came before her. Trea Connick coached the team in 2007, and Susan Gmur capped a nine-year run of quality teams in 2006 that produced six state-playoff appearances and three outright SCL titles.

"These girls have seen the success here from when they're small, and that's just what it is to them to play here," said Schubert, who turns 29 on Oct. 1. "Cascade Christian volleyball is just successful, and they grow up knowing that and expecting to continue that. They know it's not going to be easy, and that every single day it's going to be another challenge, but they're willing to put the work in. It's really cool. I'm really glad I'm a part of it."

That work continues tonight, when the Challengers host Bandon at 6:30.

"Who knows if there's a loss in our future," added Schubert of this year's Sunset slate. "I really hope there's not, but if it is, I definitely know it'll be a humbling experience they can learn from."

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SCHOOL SPIRIT took on a new meaning over the weekend when a trio of Cascade Christian boys joined in the fun at the 30th annual Prefontaine Memorial Run in Coos Bay.

Seniors Jared Nichols and Bradley Arkens and sophomore Hudson Eustace created quite a stir in their hot pink attire, complete with the shortest of shorts, sunglasses and paint on their chests and backs.

"We thought everyone would look at us like we're freaks, but we had a lot of fun," Eustace said in an article in The World newspaper in Coos Bay.

All three finished the 10-kilometer race in less than 40 minutes, led by Eustace's 25th-place effort.

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SOUTH MEDFORD'S football game against Sprague last Friday will be aired on RVTV Charter Channel 9 four times: Wednesday at 7 p.m., Thursday at 3 p.m., Friday at 2 p.m. and Monday at 3 p.m.

Sprague won, 39-34. There were nine lead changes, including five in the fourth quarter.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com