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St. Mary's rally spoils Challengers' upset bid

Prep Volleyball

St. Mary's found itself in its deepest hole. Then it found out it had the character to crawl out.

Southern Cascade League rival Cascade Christian won the first two games of their match Tuesday, but the Crusaders rebounded with three straight wins to take the match, 24-26, 21-25, 25-12, 25-23, 15-10.

Just when it looked like the Challengers (10-6, 6-3 SCL) would pull within a game of the league leaders, St. Mary's (13-0, 9-0 SCL) widened its advantage.

We were down 0-2, and we haven't been in that position before this year, said St. Mary's coach James Joy. I'm really proud of how we responded. We didn't get scared. We kept playing our ball, and we actually got better as our match went deeper and deeper.

St. Mary's made its pivotal charge in the third game. Tied at 7-7, the Crusaders moved ahead 14-7 with the help of consecutive kills by Chrissy Seus. Late in the game, Brittany Farrer had five of her 15 kills.

In Game 4, St. Mary's trailed 23-19 before Seus served out the match.

She had only one ace but kept them off-balance, said Joy. She hit it deep and was gapping some of their kids so they had to communicate.

In Game 5, the Crusaders pulled away on Libby Trum's serving and three kills by Christina Vaninetti.

Vaninetti had 22 kills and 11 blocks, and Seus added 13 kills.

Amanda Hall was 20-of-20 serving with five aces, and freshman Kelsey Reedy provided stellar defense for St. Mary's.

Cascade Christian coach Susan Gmur felt her team lapsed into conservative play in the latter stages.

With rally scoring, she said, any error costs you a point, and I think we backed off too much.

The Challengers did meet their goal of serving at 93-percent efficiency.

Janee Johnson had 14 kills and seven digs, Kyleen Johnson had 32 assists and Natalie Dicus contributed 15 kills, five blocks and five aces.

PHOENIX 25-25-25, NORTH VALLEY 21-9-16

' At Phoenix, in a move to work around North Valley's strong middle, eighth-ranked Phoenix utilized the power of their outside players.

Seniors Kelly Meredith and Tiffany Ross each recorded 16 kills. Outside hitters Joni Mahon and Cassie Tolman delivered five and six kills, respectively. The 6-foot-1 Meredith also blocked nine shots.

Pirate senior setter Kelsey Russell contributed 43 assists.

Phoenix converted 12 of Jennifer Dunlap's 17 serves. Tiffany McCarty was 10-for-10 from the service line with three aces.

LAKEVIEW 25-25-25, ROGUE RIVER 16-12-17 ' At Lakeview, top-ranked Lakeview (21-3, 10-0 Skyline) was sparked by a big advantage on the front line.

Honker outside hitters Jenna Kiely and Jess Childress combined for 18 kills and 18 digs.

Lakeview had 13 blocks in Game — and finished with 24 blocks in the match.

Lakview senior setter Megan Albertson contributed six kills, 21 assists and was 16-for-16 serving.

Rogue River was paced by Katie Glasscock (19 digs, 10 kills), Kristi Frederick (19 digs, five kills) and Ashleigh Artoff (23 assists, 16 digs).

HIDDEN VALLEY 16-21-25-25-15, ILLINOIS VALLEY 25-25-17-15-13 ' At Murphy, down two games, Hidden Valley fought back with solid defense to tie the match, then took the final stanza for the Skyline Conference win.

Hidden Valley senior Keely Gill had 14 digs and Stephanie Dean 10. Sam Masiak, a 5-foot-6 junior, recorded eight kills and eight digs.

The Mustangs' Laura Miller provided 20 assists and Masiak collected 14 service points.

BUTTE FALLS 25-25-25, PROSPECT 16-18-11 ' At Butte Falls, behind a stellar service performance, the Butte Falls girls took a three-game match in Skyline A League action.

Butte Falls (12-3, 8-0 Sky A) collected 27 aces, led by juniors Sarah Matthews (6) and Asia Million (5). Million also was 10-for-13 in the kill department.

Cassy Bartel, a junior, notched eight kills in nine attempts.

Senior setter Krystle Rowley led Butte Falls with 19 assists.

SOUTH MEDFORD SOPHS 25-23-25, NEW HOPE CHRISTIAN 21-25-10 ' At Grants Pass, New Hope got 10 service points, including an ace, and 20 assists from Julie Loop in the non-league match.

Alicia Loop added 10 service points and Bethany Hashek seven service points, two aces and 10 kills for the Warriors, 3-13 overall.