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Ashland eases past Eagle Point again, keeps streak alive

The teams may have dressed similarly, but there was nothing remotely equal about the level of play.

With both squads sporting pink uniforms in honor of breast cancer awareness month the Ashland High volleyball team trounced Eagle Point 25-12, 25-18, 25-14 in Midwestern Conference action Wednesday at Mountain Avenue Gym.

The win was Ashland’s fourth in a row and sixth in its last seven matches heading into Friday’s clash with powerhouse Summit. The Grizzlies improved to 11-3 overall and 7-1 in the MWL. Eagle Point fell to 2-14 and 2-7.

Senior setter Jordan Tilley led Ashland with 25 assists, five kills and five aces, senior middle blocker Hope Baldrica added seven kills and three blocks and junior right side Ellie Case had five kills and two blocks. Senior outside Grace Lenthe had six kills.

“We took this as an opportunity to try different offensive sets that we’ve been working on and try to get everybody in,” Ashland coach John Weston said. “So we used it to develop some confidence in our role players and they performed well.”

The confidence boost comes just in time for the Grizzlies’ most important stretch of the season. After Friday’s match and Saturday’s prestigious Clearwater Classic in Bend, where Ashland will be in the same pool as Jesuit and South Eugene, the Grizzlies the following Saturday will square off against MWL rivals Marist and North Eugene. After that they’ll travel to Central Point for a key match against the Crater Comets, who are currently tied with the Grizzlies atop the conference (Ashland won the first head-to-head match in five sets on Sept. 23).

Summit beat Ashland in straight sets on Sept. 13, but Weston said that the Grizzlies led in both sets and are better now.

“We’ve improved since then — our middles Ocean (Lumbreras) and Ellie (Case) have elevated their game in the middle and we’re getting much better blocking from the right side,” he said. “And we’re passing the ball better.”

Likely, the Grizzlies will find out how much they’ve improved against Summit (9-5).

“This will be an indicator for us,” Weston said.

Women’s Volleyball

At Klamath Falls, No. 11 Southern Oregon rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to beat Oregon Tech in a wild Cascade Conference affair Wednesday at Danny Miles Court.

Southern Oregon used a seven-point rally in the fifth game to take control then held off a late surge by the Owls to prevail 25-17, 20-25, 19-25, 25-20, 15-12.

SOU (15-3, 9-1 CCC) is now 3-0 in five-set conference matches. Oregon Tech (17-7, 5-5), meanwhile, suffered its second five-set loss of the season to the Raiders.

Paulla Pinheiro led the Raiders with 20 kills and 15 digs and came up with the last two kills after Oregon Tech rallied from a 13-7 deficit to get within 13-11. Motade Atanda added 18 kills and 15 digs, and Lauren McGowne 59 assists.

The Raiders scored seven straight to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 13-6 lead.

Oregon Tech was led by Kelsey Sampson’s 17 kills, while Whitney Webster and Madisen Garlie added 10 apiece.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-776-4469 or jzavala@dailytidings.com.