St. Mary's in state title match
EUGENE — St. Mary's hopes of reaching the Class 3A volleyball state tournament championship match were slipping away when sophomore Kenzie Jackson stepped to the service line.
The Crusaders had dropped the first two sets in the state semifinals to Creswell and were behind seven points midway through Game 3. Then Jackson served seven straight points to even the match, a run that sparked a remarkable comeback as St. Mary's rallied for a 22-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-13 victory Friday at Lane Community College.
The Crusaders (18-2) advance into today's finals at 6 p.m. against defending 3A state champion Santiam Christian, which swept Burns in three games in the other semifinal. Santiam Christian defeated Cascade Christian in last year's 3A championship match.
St. Mary's first-year coach Colleen Christensen's message to her team before the third game against Creswell was to "just have fun."
"We knew it was possible," said Christensen. "We were playing great but their middle hitter (Chandler Gabrio) was a little bit intimidating. We really stepped it up. We dug a lot more balls and missed just one serve."
Kylee Adderson, a senior middle blocker and co-captain, led the Crusaders with 18 kills and Alexi Provost-Shean added 10. Senior co-captain Jordan Jackson passed out 37 assists.
St. Mary's received inspired defensive play from senior libero Sam Bayer, defensive specialist Domonique Valdez and outside hitter Kate Traister.
"They made some huge plays," said Christensen. "There were some long rallies and lots of emotional exhaustion."
In the decisive fifth game, St. Mary's held a slim lead over the Bulldogs most of the way. At 13-all, the Crusaders got the sideout and Creswell made a passing error on Provost-Shean's serve to end the match.
"When we made it to the fifth game, the mental aspect is what won it for us," said Christensen.
St. Mary's defeated Corbett, 25-19, 25-22, 28-26 in the quarterfinals earlier in the day.
"We made a lot of mistakes," said Christensen, referring to the Corbett match. "Things weren't really working so we had to play smart."
St. Mary's, which lost to Salem Academy in last year's 2A semifinals, has never won a state volleyball championship. In 1999, the Crusaders lost to Amity in the Class 2A title match.
Class 4A Volleyball
HIDDEN VALLEY FALLS IN SEMIS— At Eugene, Skyline Conference champion Hidden Valley won the opening game in the state semifinals but Crook County came back to post a 25-27, 27-25, 25-22, 25-18 victory.
In the quarterfinals, the Mustangs (26-2) registered a 22-25, 25-12, 25-8, 25-10 win over Baker.
Hidden Valley plays for third place at 2:15 p.m. today against Cowapa League champion Astoria (21-4).
Crook County (15-8) faces Banks (20-6) for the championship.
Boys Water Polo
ASHLAND 10, PARKROSE 7 — At Corvallis, Adam Good had five goals, one assist and one steal to lead Ashland into today's Class 5A/4A title match against West Albany.
The Grizzlies will be going for their third straight state championship at 10 a.m. at the Osborne Aquatic Center.
Forrest Kollar added two goals, four assists, one steal and one field block for the Grizzlies.
Other Ashland goal scorers were Evan Westhelle-Grant, Jerico Walker-Roberts and James Compeau. Miles Furuichi had 11 saves in net.
Girls Water Polo
SANDY 11, ASHLAND 3 — At Corvallis, Ashland received goals from Sadie Kasiah, Sarah Kasiah and Molly Cochrane in a Class 5A/4A semifinal loss.
The Grizzlies play North Eugene for third place at 8:45 a.m. today.