North Medford volleyball coach Malcolm Munson doesn’t enjoy watching his players fall into a big hole, but after seeing them climb out with confidence, he came away pleased nonetheless.
North swept visiting Grants Pass, 25-22, 25-21, 25-16, on Tuesday to complete the first round of play in the Southwestern Conference.
After seeing deficits of 8-0 and 17-9 in Game 2, the Black Tornado (12-5, 5-1 SWC) rallied to close out the Cavers (4-10, 0-6).
“Our kids have a sense we’re going to win matches,” Munson said. “I like our kids’ heart. We have the attitude that we’re going to keep after it and pull it out.”
Kylie Pauck finished with 11 kills and three aces to lead North on offense. Also for the Black Tornado, Alex Barry had 31 assists, four aces and 11 digs, and Jenna Sandstrom added four kills and strong play at the net.
North was outstanding from the service stripe, missing only twice in 74 attempts, while serving 12 aces.
WILLAMETTE 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 2: At Eugene, South Medford senior captain Chanel Groom played an inspired match in a losing effort for South Medford.
Host Willamette rallied from a 2-1 deficit to register a 25-21, 19-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-10 Southwest Conference victory.
Groom, an outside hitter, posted a career-high 31 kills to go with four blocks, six digs and two aces.
The Panthers (3-8, 1-5 SWC) also got a big effort from senior setter Megan Davis, who provided 31 assists, four kills, four digs, four aces and two blocks.
South freshman middle blocker Evelyn Laupola had five blocks and three kills and junior Maggie Hutto excelled from the service line with five aces. Hutto added six digs and two kills.
THURSTON 3, ASHLAND 1: At Ashland, Thurston rode pinpoint serving to the in Midwestern League, play, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17, 25-9.
The loss dropped the Grizzlies to 3-7 overall and 3-4 in the MWL. Thurston improved to 5-7 and 3-3.
Middle blocker Alex Crane and defensive specialist Sydney Philpott had solid efforts for Ashland.
MARIST 3, CRATER 0: At Eugene, Crater started sluggishly in the opening two games and never gained the momentum, falling to host Marist, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, in a Midwestern League match.
Maya Van Hook, a junior middle, put down seven kills and Rane Jensen, a junior libero, came up with 12 digs and provided steady passing to pace the Comets (6-3, 5-2 MWL).
The Spartans improved to 7-3 overall, 6-1 in the MWL.
NORTH VALLEY 3, PHOENIX 2: At Merlin, North Valley rallied after dropping the first two games to defeat Phoenix 25-11, 25-21, 25-12, 25-11, 15-8 in a Skyline Conference match.
The Pirates fell to 5-7 overall, 2-2 in conference, while the Knights improved to 3-7 overall, 2-2 in conference.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, LAKEVIEW 0: Cascade Christian swept visiting Lakeview, 25-4, 25-11, 25-8, to remain undefeated in the Southern Cascade League.
Caroline McMahon, a junior outside, had eight kills and Alyssa Vaughan, a senior outside, added five kills to lead the Challengers (9-1, 3-0 SCL) at the net. Also for Cascade Christian, senior setter Allison Winter contributed 27 assists and 10 aces, while junior libero Aubrey Kievit chipped in 15 digs and six aces.
The Honkers fell to 2-9 overall, 2-1 in the SCL.
ST. MARY’S 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 1: St. Mary’s tallied a season-high 22 aces, including eight in Game 1, in defeating visiting Illinois Valley 25-12, 25-16, 20-25, 25-21 in a Southern Cascade League match.
Natalie Thickett, a sophomore, led St. Mary’s at the serve line, going 19-for-20 with seven aces. Hallie Shean added five aces, serving 13-for-14.
On the offensive front, Katie Rietmann and Shean put down eight kills apiece to lead the Crusaders (6-10, 2-1 SCL) in hitting. Shean also led the team defensively with six digs.
The Cougars dropped to 4-9 overall, 1-2 in the SCL.
ROGUE RIVER 3, PROSPECT 0: At Prospect, Sophia Woodall opened the match with four straight aces to set the tone and Rogue River swept Prospect, 25-9, 25-11, 25-19, in a nonleague contest.
Woodall, a senior setter, had eight of the Chieftains’ 22 aces.
Jillian Steinbrook produced five aces and five kills for Rogue River (4-5), and teammate Laura Howard added five kills and two blocks.
Prospect (1-8) received strong play from junior outside Maylee Breiholz and Stormie Thompson.
RV ADVENTIST 3, BUTTE FALLS 0: Rogue Valley Adventist won the home nonleague match, 25-18, 25-12, 25-18.
For Butte Falls (3-8), T’neal Myers had five kills and two aces, Alyssa Dunham added four kills, Taylor Crowe served two aces and Sage Ensley chipped in 11 digs.
The Red Tail Hawks improved to 5-1.