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Zielony ignites St. Mary's past Cascade Christian

PREP VOLLEYBALL

CENTRAL POINT-- Cascade Christian stunned top-ranked St. Mary's in the first game but had no answer for Kristen Zielony in the deciding game in Thursday's Southern Cascade League volleyball action at Scenic Middle School.

The Challengers stormed out to a 15-7 win in the first game, but had their momentum halted as the Crusaders earned a 15-6 win in the second game.

Cascade (14-6, 4-4 SCL) appeared to have its best victory of the season in hand with a 9-2 lead in the third game before Zielony rallied the troops with four aces as St. Mary's managed a 13-9 lead. The Crusaders (28-3, 10-0 SCL) went on to win the deciding game 15-9.

Kristen had a huge run, St. Mary's coach James Joy said. She's got that tough floater and when it's on it's tough to hit.

As much as Zielony's efforts pumped up her Crusader teammates, they in turn deflated the Challenger squad.

Being up 7-1 (and 9-2) it was kind of a heartbreaker to lose it, Cascade coach Susan Gmur said.

We felt real strong in the third game but then we had an overlap call at 10-9. That just really confused us. We've never been called on that all year long.

Cascade was deemed to have a front row player passing behind a back row player in the questionable ruling.

Shelly Nicholson served 11 points in the first game with one ace to get the Challengers off to a rousing start. Bethany Weaver had nine digs and Marisha McDonald added 10 for Cascade in the match, while Kelly Clarke had four kills and Kristin Salamone had three blocks. Sophomore setter Whitney Brookins also had an outstanding match.

Zielony was 17-for-18 from the service line with five aces, while also adding 12 kills, seven digs and three blocks. Her older sister Maren chipped in 15 digs and seven kills, while Lani Brophy had 10 digs and 19 assists for St. Mary's.

The Crusaders have a week off before a seeding match for the playoffs Nov. 6 at St. Mary's High.

Skyline Conference

PHOENIX 15-13-15, ROGUE RIVER 8-15-7-- At Phoenix, junior Kelly Goodkin stole the show for Phoenix by posting four of her seven aces in the deciding game to secure the Skyline Conference victory.

Goodkin went 22-for-22 from the service line for the match as Phoenix solidified the third spot in the standings. Rogue River will play at North Valley Saturday in a league playoff for the right to play at Phoenix on Tuesday.

Middle hitter Sutton Jackson had 14 kills while Beth Nikodym added seven for the Pirates. Freshman setter Kelsey Russell also had a solid night with 29 assists.

Sophomore middle Jennifer Kay led the Chiefs with 16 kills. Freshman Katie Glasscock added eight kills and nine digs and freshman setter Ashleigh Artoff added 47 assists.

LAKEVIEW 15-15, HIDDEN VALLEY 1-5-- At Lakeview, Christi Albertson notched seven kills and Frances Hartman added six more as Skyline Conference runner-up Lakeview breezed to victory.

Lakeview made good on 43 of 45 serving attempts.

HENLEY 15-15, NORTH VALLEY 10-8-- At Merlin, Henley overcame stubborn North Valley to finish unbeaten in Skyline play.

North Valley placed fourth and will host Rogue River in the first round of the conference playoffs.

Charlotte Beck, Carrie McIntyre and Amanda Renius had five kills each for North Valley, while Melody Maccarone had eight digs.

MAZAMA 15-15, ILLINOIS VALLEY 7-4-- At Cave Junction, Shaye Edwards had six kills and four aces as Mazama closed out the season on a winning note.