EUGENE — The Crater volleyball team is going through a rough patch.
Crater was swept in a Midwestern League match on Thursday, 25-16, 25-23, 25-21 by host Churchill, a team the Comets defeated in four sets earlier this season.
This time around, however, Crater was missing its kills leader, middle Maya Van Hook — who’s been out nearly two weeks with an ankle injury — and didn’t have an answer for Churchill’s Taylor Williams, a 6-foot-2 junior transfer from South Eugene.
“It’s just a huge hole that we’re unable to fill at this point,” Comets coach Leaf Jensen said. “When you have somebody (like Taylor) banging away like that and you can’t return it, that makes it tough.”
Libero Rane Jensen (seven digs) and defensive specialist Heather Colmer (six digs) provided outstanding serve-receive passing for Crater, but the offense remained “stalled a bit” without Van Hook in the lineup, Jensen said.
Outside hitter Nehkyah Ellis put down 11 kills and Addison Lowder chipped in five kills and three blocks for the Comets (8-6, 7-4 MWL), but it wasn’t enough to overcome the improved Lancers (6-11, 5-7).
“When you just can’t put the ball away, it just gets tough,” Jensen said.
Jensen hopes to have Van Hook back in the lineup Thursday against Marist. Until then, the Comets will look to cinch up third place in the MWL by winning at least two of their final three matches, none of which are “gimmes,” Jensen said.
NORTH MEDFORD 3, WILLAMETTE 1: At Eugene, Alex Barry produced 10 service aces to go along with a strong floor game as North Medford won the Southwest Conference match, 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 25-16.
Barry had the majority of the Black Tornado’s 16 aces, and contributed 35 assists and five kills.
Lauren Barry had 12 kills and 11 digs for North Medford (17-7, 7-3 SWC), while Kiley Pauck had 10 kills and 12 digs and Adriane McLemore nine kills.
Jenna Sandstrom had two solo blocks, six assisted blocks and three kills.
SHELDON 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0: At Eugene, Chanel Groom and Maggie Hutto had four kills apiece for South Medford, which lost 25-13, 25-15, 25-15 to host Sheldon, the top team in the Southwest Conference.
Megan Davis had 11 assists and eight digs and freshman middle Evelyn Laupola came up with three blocks to lead the defensive effort at the net for the Panthers (6-11, 3-8 SWC) against the Irish (17-1, 10-0).
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, LAKEVIEW 0: At Lakeview, junior outside hitter Caroline McMahon had 14 kills and five aces in leading Cascade Christian to a 25-14, 25-12, 25-9 Southern Cascade League victory against Lakeview.
Olivia Borg and Gabby Burton added seven kills apiece and Allison Winter had 27 assists in directing the offense for the Challengers (19-2, 7-0 SCL), who struggled from the service line but recovered nicely against the Honkers (3-12, 3-4).
ST. MARY’S 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0: Ashley Gurr had a season-best 20 assists, four kills and was 11 of 11 serving with two aces as St. Mary’s cruised to the Southern Cascade League victory, 25-9, 25-15, 25-23.
Junior middle hitter Katie Rietmann had six kills and was 17 of 18 hitting. She also had two blocks for the Crusaders (10-12, 5-2, SCL).
Junior Hallie Shean notched five kills and was 9 of 10 serving with three aces. Lauren Russo was 10 of 11 serving with three aces.
LOST RIVER 3, ROGUE RIVER 0: At Rogue River, Lost River won the nonleague match 27-25, 25-23, 25-19 over Rogue River.