SPRINGFIELD — In the absence of its most dynamic offensive player, the Crater volleyball team is leaning on superior depth and versatility to make up for its missing kills leader.
Overcoming a sluggish start, Crater swept Springfield 25-18, 25-11, 25-5 to pick up a Midwestern League victory Thursday.
The Comets (7-4, 6-3 MWL) lost Maya Van Hook last week to a high ankle sprain and initially expected the junior middle hitter to miss about a week and a half of action. The team now expects Van Hook will return at least for the playoffs, but she could miss next week’s contest against Churchill.
It will be one of four “dangerous” league matches remaining this season, said Crater coach Leaf Jensen, as the third-place Comets try to close the gap between themselves and league leaders North Eugene and Marist.
“That’s a pretty big chunk of our offense,” Jensen said.
In the meantime, while Van Hook recovers, Jensen has been shuffling lineups with success due in large part to outstanding depth and the versatility of his players.
“This is the strongest team I’ve had, top to bottom, in all my years of coaching,” Jensen said.
Filling in for Van Hook’s at the net for Crater were Nehkyah Ellis (nine kills, eight digs, three aces), Sydney Gray (five kills) and Addison Lowder (five kills).
Leading the back line for the Comets were Rane Jensen (11 digs, six aces) and Heather Colmer (eight aces, four digs).
The Millers (0-12, 0-10) were swept for the eighth time this season.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0: At Cave Junction, Class 3A top-ranked Cascade Christian used it’s aggressive serving to keep Illinois Valley out of system in a 25-14, 25-9, 25-10 Southern Cascade League sweep.
Senior setter Allison Winter had 11 of the Challengers’ 20 aces. Winter also dished out 27 assists.
Junior outside Caroline McMahon paced the attack for Cascade Christian (16-1, 6-0 SCL) with 14 kills, and Alyssa Vaughn added eight kills and three aces.
PHOENIX 3, KLAMATH UNION 0: At Klamath Falls, Phoenix setter Sofia Tringolo had a strong night finding available hitters, racking up 28 assists in a 26-24, 25-23, 25-13 Skyline Conference win over Klamath Union.
Tringolo also had a pair of aces and two blocks while the Pirates’ middle hitters, Avary Reneau and Katelyn Hanson went, for 10 kills and two blocks apiece.
The Pirates (8-9, 4-3 Sky) also picked up 12 digs and five aces from libero Abigail George and eight kills, five aces and two blocks from Kassidy Calhoun.
ST. MARY’S 3, ROGUE RIVER 0: At Rogue River, St. Mary’s recorded 14 aces and kept Rogue River’s offense on its heels in a 25-16, 25-11, 25-22 Southern Cascade League road victory.
Junior libero Lauren Russo led the Crusaders (8-12, 3-2 SC) from the service line with seven aces and had a team-best seven digs.
Hallie Shean, a junior outside hitter, paced the St. Mary’s front line with 11 kills on 27 of 27 hitting. Natalie Thickett added six kills and three aces, while setter Ashley Gurr distributed 17 assists on pinpoint passing at the net.
Rogue River fell to 0-6 in the SCL and 4-7 overall.