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Challengers advance to championship match

EUGENE — In arguably one of its best days of competition this season, Cascade Christian used a pair of top-notch performances on Friday to advance to the Class 3A state championship today.

The sixth-ranked Challengers (17-0) routed Riverside in the quarterfinals, 25-10, 25-19, 25-22, before ousting No. 3 Valley Catholic in the semifinals, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 25-17, 16-14, at Lane Community College.

"The entire team played strong," Cascade Christian coach Sabrina Schubert said. "They didn't back off. They played their hearts out."

That wasn't more evident than in the second game against Valley Catholic when senior libero Nikki Jones took a ball to the face. With her nose bloody, Schubert called a timeout and Jones was patched up. After the 30-second timeout, Jones returned with her teammates to the court.

"They played tough and it wasn't like one person played good," Schubert said. "They all played really good and played together."

Schubert highlighted the consistent serving of McKenzie Allen, the hitting performance of Becca Sellers and Schubert said Breanna Holtz had the performance of her life.

Cascade Christian plays top-ranked Santiam Christian in the championship at 6 p.m. today.

The Challengers were third at state last season.

Class 2A

SALEM ACADEMY 3, ST. MARY'S 2 — At Forest Grove, third-ranked St. Mary's came up short in an epic semifinal match against the Tri River Conference runner-up, 27-25, 25-23, 20-25, 27-25, 15-13, at Pacific University.

For the second straight year Salem Academy knocked St. Mary's out of postseason play in a five-game match.

St. Mary's won the third game, 25-20, to move to within one game of winning the match. Then St. Mary's had two match points, 24-23 and 25-24, in the fourth game.

In the decisive fifth game, No. 6 Salem Academy, which will face Tri River foe and defending state champion Blanchet Catholic in today's finals, jumped out to a 6-1 lead. St. Mary's closed to 7-5 but played sideout ball from there.

St. Mary's junior middle Kylee Adderson recorded a school-record 12 aces with her aggressive jump-floater serve. Adderson broke the previous record of 11 aces held by Becky Naumes.

Adderson also had 11 kills and 10 blocks.

St. Mary's received 11 kills from Alexi Provost-Shean and senior outside Danielle Shubat contributed 10 kills and 26 digs. Samantha Baer, a junior libero came up with a team-best 34 digs and junior Kate Traister had 31 digs. Junior setter Jordan Jackson dished out 46 assists.

St. Mary's overcame some early nerves against Oakland in the quarterfinals to post a 25-21, 25-16, 25-19 victory.

St. Mary's (24-4) will play Corbett for third place at noon today.

Class 6A

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 3, SHELDON 1 — At Hillsboro, Southwest Conference champion Sheldon was eliminated in the quarterfinals, 25-10, 24-26, 25-18, 25-17.

Central Catholic will play Jesuit for the state championship today, while Sheldon will face McNary in the consolation bracket.

Class 4A

SISTERS 3, HENLEY 0 — At Eugene, the Sky-Em League champion knocked Henley into the consolation bracket, 25-9, 25-19, 25-8, at Lane Community College.

Henley, the Skyline Conference No. 1 team, plays Newport in the consolation semifinals today.