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Tough tourney challenges Ashland, North

ALBANY — Ashland and North Medford competed in one of the toughest volleyball tournaments in the state on Saturday.

At the 16-team South Albany State Preview, the Grizzlies lost to top-ranked and eventual champion Central Catholic in the quarterfinals of the championship bracket, and the Black Tornado dropped a tough match to Mountain View in the consolation championship.

Ashland, which finished second in its pool to No. 2 Jesuit, had one of the toughest draws of the tournament. However, coach Jodee Scott was enthusiastic after the Grizzlies faced the top two teams in the state.

"It was a great opportunity to play some fantastic teams," she said.

North Medford defeated Lake Oswego and Thurston en route to the consolation title match, which the Black Tornado lost, 17-25, 25-17, 15-13.

"We are improving steadily," North Medford coach Erika Wright said. "This was a really great tournament in the sense that there are a lot of great teams. You really have to show up to every single game that you play."

Central Catholic defeated Jesuit in three sets to claim the tournament title.

ST. MARY'S TRIUMPHS — At Phoenix, St. Mary's topped Mazama in straight sets to win the Crusader Classic for the first time since 2005.

The seventh-ranked Crusaders didn't lose a set in bracket play en route to the 25-20, 25-15 championship victory.

St. Mary's is now 14-2 overall.

Mazama defeated Phoenix, 26-24, 26-24, in the semifinals.