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Axemen cut down Tornado in SWC opener

The North Medford volleyball team had its moments during its season opener against South Eugene on Thursday.

The Axemen, however, unleashed seniors McKenna Henderson and Nicola Moore, who pounded the net to help South Eugene sweep the Black Tornado, 25-21, 25-14, 25-16, in Southwest Conference action at North Medford High School.

“Those are a couple of players who you can give some credit to,” North Medford coach Erika Wright said. “Their team got them the ball and they made some great plays.

“We were good when we could get them out of system, but we didn’t do that much the entire match. It was challenging.”

Junior outside hitter Emily Carter led the Black Tornado (0-1, 0-1 SWC) with 11 kills, Ashley Ripplinger added three kills, one block and eight digs and senior setter Taylor Otoski had two aces to go with superb distribution effort.

ASHLAND 3, GRANTS PASS 0: At Ashland, Hope Baldrica had eight kills and four blocks and Jordan Tilley added 18 assists, five kills and four aces as Ashland opened its season with a 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 nonleague win over Grants Pass at Mountain Avenue Gym.

Nyla Norvell added 23 digs and seven aces for the Grizzlies.

PHOENIX 3, EAGLE POINT 1: At Eagle Point, Phoenix was sparked by senior middle blockers Adriana Mereida-Ford and Sydney Amundsen in a 26-24, 25-9, 10-25, 25-18 nonleague victory.

Mereida-Ford put down 14 kills and Amundsen provided 13.

Pirate setter Karlie Richardson had 36 assists and six aces.

For Eagle Point, junior outside Kylene Briggs pounded 10 kills and Cheyenne Gabica, a senior middle, added six.

Camryn Shumat, the Eagles senior libero, came up with 15 digs.

NORTH VALLEY 3, SOUTH UMPQUA 1: At Merlin, junior outside hitters Haleigh Wagman and Ambur DeChenne combined for 33 kills as North Valley defeated South Umpqua, 25-22, 18-25, 25-17, 25-17.

Taryn King, a junior setter, dished out 47 assists for the Knights (1-1).

HIDDEN VALLEY 3, DOUGLAS 0: At Murphy, Hidden Valley swept, 25-7, 25-13, 25-10.

Five players had five or more kills for Hidden Valley, led by six from Katie Allen.

McKenzie Cushman and Brooke Lomica added 14 and 11 assists respectively, while Megan York compiled five aces and 22 digs.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, MYRTLE POINT 0: Twin sisters Katelyn Smith and Madigan Smith controlled the net to help Cascade Christian bounce Myrtle Point, 25-17, 25-10, 25-14.

Katelyn Smith, a senior outside hitter, tallied eight kills, 10 digs and five aces while senior middle Madigan Smith went for seven kills and three blocks.

Junior middle hitter Ellie Brown added six kills and five blocks for the Challengers (4-0) and junior setter Alyssa Brown chalked up 23 assists.

ST. MARY’S SPLITS: At Klamath Falls, St. Mary’s dropped the opener to Glide, 25-17, 25-15, 18-25, 25-18, then swept Mazama, 25-18, 26-24, 25-15, at Mazama High.

Against Glide, sophomore middle blocker Claire Hawkins paced the Crusaders attack with seven kills and five blocks. Dakota Rothfus contributed four kills and four aces and Madi Christian added four kills.

Hawkins had a big match against Mazama with 13 blocks and five kills, while Rothfus, a senior outside, threw down six kills to go with two blocks.

Emily Eccleston paced St. Mary’s (1-2) in passing in both matches and setter Ashley Reitmann had a total of 22 assists on the night.