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Stubborn Tribe turns back Tornado

Untimely fire drill robs North's momentum

After a disastrous first game, Roseburg High's girls volleyball team went to its big girls to stun the preseason favorite in the Southern Oregon Conference.

Seniors Crystal Stephens and Allison Courter spurred the torrid Indians to a 4-15, 15-13, 15-13 win over a North Medford team that was picked by Southern Oregon Conference coaches to win the league title.

North dropped to 1-1 after beating Grants Pass in its SOC opener, while it was Roseburg conference first conference match..

It was written that we have all the tools this year to win, and I think we proved that to be wrong, said North Medford coach Ron Beick. Our serving problems played a big role in us losing our momentum and we didn't play very good defense.

Roseburg outside hitter Allison Courter and middle hitter Crystal Stephens, pair of 6-foot-1 seniors, tormented the shorter Black Tornado players at the net in the final two games as the two-time defending Indians turned the tables.

Courter prevented North from closing out the match in the second game with her offense. She scored four of Roseburg's final five points as the Indians rallied from a 13-11 deficit.

We were two points away from winning and Allison wouldn't let it happen, said Beick. She was tough and determined around the net.

In the third and deciding game, Stephens took over. She recorded six of her match-high 10 blocks in the final game and scored Roseburg's final two points on a block and on a dink shot in front of the net.

She's a gazelle, said Roseburg coach Bruce Myers. She's so athletic and she can get to a lot of balls with her long arms and speed.

I was fired up, said Stephens, who scored nine points to go with her 10 blocks. We didn't really play that aggressively earlier in the match. I don't know why.

I was looking for the ball on most of their shots in the third game, said Stephens. I knew I had a size advantage and I was fired up to use it. I didn't want to lose.

We may have been a little nervous in the first game, said Stephens. But we started to play our game in the second game.

the last game, I felt we had taken over the momentum.

Still, Beick said he felt his team was in control deep into the final game. At 13-13 in the third game, I thought we were going to win, he said. But Crystal Stephens makes two big plays and we didn't have anything left to stop her.

Excellent passing led the Black Tornado as it cruised to a 15-4 win in the first game. Senior middle blocker Ali Piff and senior outside hitter Ali Mostue led the offense, which seemed unstoppable. Ashley Olson and Piff both scored three points in the game.

But three points in the second game, a 20-minute fire drill emptied the gymnasium, and it may have emptied momentum from North's tank.

Actually, I thought we lost our momentum before the fire drill, said Beick. Our girls have a habit of using up too much energy getting fired up before the game. And at the end, we didn't have much left when we needed it.

That's the coach's fault, said Beick. It's my job not to let that happen.

Outside Kristin Ferris of North scored nine kills and had two blocks, middle blocker Lacey Dalton had seven kills and five blocks and Piff had eight kills and two blocks.

Mostue, who had three big service aces to keep North close or in front in the third game, finished with seven kills and one block.

Setter Jordan Crossfield totaled 28 assists to lead the Indians.

ASHLAND 15-15, SOUTH MEDFORD 4-6 -- At Ashland,-- the Grizzlies struggled from the service line in the early going, but once they solved that deficiency Ashland had no problem beating South Medford.

Chelsea Morgan went 17-of-19 serving, banged home five aces and had 10 digs to lead the Grizzlies to a 15-4, 15-6 victory.

We played great defense -- really dug the ball well, Ashland coach Josh Rohlfing said.

Junior middle Amy Williams was 6-of-9 on kills and Rachael Karlin added three blocks.

The Grizzlies, now 2-0, meet North Medford on Tuesday in the Ashland High gym.

CRATER 15-15, EAGLE POINT 5-10 -- At Eagle Point, Crater eased past the Eagles in the SOC match.

Crater's blocking prowess proved to be the key to the match, with the Comets notching 10 blocks on the night.

Senior Rhonda Lamson led Crater (2-0) with 18 assists, eight digs, three kills and three aces. Senior Jamie Caster added six blocks and four kills.

Junior outside hitter Alaina Corliss paced Eagle Point (0-2) with 11 digs, with senior outside hitter Megan Smith adding seven kills and senior setter Cindy Josephson notching three aces.

Crater dominated the first set, then took a 14-3 lead in the second set before Eagle Point was able to mount a comeback with eight straight points.

KLAMATH UNION 15-15, GRANTS PASS 4-13 -- Christina Pierce and Madri Scott helped Grants Pass come back from an 11-3 deficit in the second game, to tie it 13-all, but the Cavers couldn't stop the Pelicans from putting away the final two points to win sweep the match.

North Medford setter Mandi Horn and outside hitter Ali Mostue couldn't dig this Roseburg spike. - Photo by Jim Craven