ASHLAND — An injury may have slowed down Crater’s volleyball team, but not for long.
Stepping into the role of primary outside hitter, junior Sydney Gray had 12 kills, eight digs and six aces, leading Crater to a 26-24, 25-13, 25-13 sweep over Ashland on Tuesday in a Midwestern League match.
Crater (3-0, 2-0 MWL) lost its primary hitter to an ankle injury last week at Thurston, and the new rotation was slow to gel, starting the match “a little nervous and uptight,” Crater coach Leaf Jensen said. However, once the Comets hit their stride, Gray and fellow outside hitter Rane Jensen (four kills, 15 digs, two aces) shouldered the load.
“They carried us tonight,” Leaf Jensen said. “They did a really nice job.”
Middle blocker Maya VanHook added eight kills and two solo blocks for the Comets, who ended all three sets with a solo block.
For Ashland (0-2), Alex Crane put down 10 kills, Emily DeVall contributed four kills, two aces and eight digs and Sydney Philpott chipped in 15 digs.
SOUTH EUGENE 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 1: At South Eugene, South Medford started sluggish and was defeated 25-13, 25-22, 13-25, 25-22 in its Southwest Conference opener.
After being overwhelmed in the first set, South Medford (1-2, 0-1 SWC) led late in the second set but was unable to close out. Unforced errors, including 14 missed serves, prevented the Panthers from keeping their momentum with any consistency.
Senior outside hitter Chanel Groom had 13 kills, nine digs and one ace to lead South Medford. Senior right side Megan Davis added seven kills and six digs, and senior defensive specialist Jayda Willis chipped in 19 digs and tough serving.
WILLAMETTE 3, GRANTS PASS 2: At Willamette, Grants Pass was edged 25-21, 24-26, 23-25, 25-23, 15-13 in its Southwest Conference opener.
Londyn Beck, Aubree Esterline and Halleigh Noga had eight kills apiece, while Devin Ireland and Jordan Kuykendall both had three aces to pace Grants Pass (1-3, 0-1 SWC).
DOUGLAS 3, PHOENIX 2: At Phoenix, Avery Reneau had 11 kills and five blocks to lead Phoenix, which got off to a hot start but ultimately fell to Douglas, 18-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-13, 15-13 in a nonconference match.
Sofia Tringolo had six kills and five blocks, and Katelyn Hanson added five kills for the Pirates (1-2).
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, COQUILLE 0: At Coquille, Cascade Christian opened the season with a nonleague sweep, 25-22, 25-16, 26-24.
Caroline McMahon paced the Challengers with 14 kills, and Alyssa Vaughn had nine. Allison Winter recorded 33 assists and four aces, while Olivia Borg had five kills and three aces.
YREKA 3, ST. MARY’S 0: At Yreka, Calif., Yreka edged St. Mary’s in the nonleague match, 25-21, 25-18, 25-19.
Junior Hallie Shean, an outside hitter, had eight kills for the Crusaders (1-3) and was 6-for-6 serving. Junior Katie Rietmann earned eight blocks and contributed six kills. Sophomore Susanna Schatz went 10-for-10 serving.
ASHLAND 3, HENLEY 1: At Klamath Falls, Ashland scored all three of its goals within a span of 20 minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit in the second half.
Mya Elder Hammond scored the equalizer off a long free kick from Ginny Cotton in the 52nd minute, and just three minutes later, Liv West netted a goal with an assist by Mary Wilson to put the Grizzlies (2-0) ahead for good.
Maya Holzshu padded the lead in the 73rd minute, scoring with an assist by Elder Hammond.
Sidney Hedlund scored the goal for Henley (0-1), which hosted the match in its indoor facility at Steen Sport Park.