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Roseburg's Wolf named SOC player of year

It was a season of change and transition in Southern Oregon Conferencevolleyball.

New coaches, traditional weak links knocking off traditional powerhousesand the emergence of Klamath Union as a first-time playoff participant.

One of the few things that didn't change was that Roseburg came out ontop of the SOC standings for the second year in a row. Another was thatthe Indians produced the conference player of the year, Sarah Wolf.

Six teams had players on the first team, reflecting the balance of competition.Wolf was joined by teammate Jordan Crossfield. Third-place Ashland put RobinLawrence and Chelsea Morgan on the first team, while runner-up North Medfordwas represented by Ali Mostue. Kristina Matchett of Klamath Union, AnnaHappel of Eagle Point and South Medford's Amy Meyerding round out the SOC'sdream team.

Mostue and Meyerding were second-team selections a year ago.

Klamath Union coach Malcom Munson was named coach of the year by hispeers in voting conducted by the Mail Tribune.

Neither Wolf's honor, nor Roseburg's title came as a total surprise.But after Wolf's September foray into a ditch, neither was a given.

Wolf and several friends were on a toilet-papering expedition under thecloak of darkness. When a car came around the bend, the girls dove off theroad. Wolf stepped into a hole, re-injuring a surgically repaired knee.

I was scared, Wolf admits. I thought that was the endof my season. I thought I had totally blown my knee out again.

Fortunately for the 17-year-old prankster and her team, the damage wasno more than a strain. Four days later she was back on the court. The Indianswere on their way to topping the SOC standings for back-to-back seasonsfor the first time since 1986-87.

Playing alongside 1996 SOC player of the year Joslynn Gallop, Wolf wasa middle blocker. But Roseburg coach Bruce Myers shuffled his lineup, puttingmost of his players in new roles this season. Wolf moved to outside hitter.

We became a forceful team because we were able to adjust to change,Wolf says. When I was out, the other players adjusted and showed wecould still win. We weren't a one-person team.

But when the Indians needed a sideout or point, she was the likely candidateto go on the attack.

Our opponents had to always know where she was, Myers says.If she was in the front row, they had to key on her. If they didn't,we were going to take advantage of that.

The University of Alaska-Anchorage has offered Wolf a basketball scholarshipand she'll visit the school Nov. 22. Columbia University and Fordham haveshown interest in the 3.98-GPA student who eventually wants to go to medicalschool.

But given her success in volleyball, she's taking a wait-and-see approach.

For now, Wolf's concentrating on Roseburg's trip to the Chiles Centerin Portland where the Indians will try to improve on their best-ever fifth-placefinish in last year's Class 4A state tournament.

Our practices have intensified because we know we have to competeat a higher level at state, Wolf says. I think it will showup at state.

North Medford returns to the Chiles Center for the first time since 1995.The Black Tornado's best tournament finish was fourth place in 1993.

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