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Challengers fall in semis, to play for third

EUGENE — After colliding with a team seeking its third straight Class 3A title on Friday, the Cascade Christian volleyball team will have to shift its aspirations of its own crown for third place.

Two-time defending state champion Santiam Christian upended Cascade Christian, 25-12, 25-19, 25-13, pushing the Challengers into a third-place bout with Vale today at noon at Lane Community College.

“We’re still excited to be playing tomorrow for third place,” said Challengers coach Rob Klecker. “(The loss) was tough on the girls at first but we have to have a short memory and not dwell on this loss, and I think they’ve taken that to heart.”

The Challengers (21-6) picked up eight kills from senior outside hitter Trudy Burns and 24 digs from senior libero Paige Bruce.

“In my opinion, they’re the best in the state,” Klecker said of third-ranked Santiam Christian, which plays Creswell for the title. “They have athletes that just keep coming. They’re digging up stuff they just shouldn’t be digging up. They’re just solid from top to bottom.”

Cascade Christian topped Salem Academy in the quarterfinals earlier in the day, 25-20, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23.

Bruce helped hold off Salem Academy in the fourth and final set when the Challengers trailed 21-19 by stringing together a couple of plays. Bruce finished with 32 digs and four kills.

Senior middle hitter Madigan Smith posted 10 kills for the Challengers, and junior setter Alyssa Brown racked up 34 assists and 17 digs.

Class 5A

LA SALLE 3, CRATER 1: At Hillsboro, Crater’s tough stretch in the fourth set allowed La Salle to climb back from a big deficit to claim a 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-19 victory in the quarterfinals at the Class 5A state tournament at Liberty High School.

The Comets (19-4), who have never earned a trophy in the state tournament, will take on Bend in consolation play today at 8 a.m. If the Comets win, they will play one more match for fourth place. Places first through sixth earn trophies.

Crater boasted a 17-9 lead in the fourth set, but La Salle went on an 8-0 run to knot the score at 17-all. The Comets were called for three illegal sets during La Salle’s spurt before the Falcons wrapped the match up with an 8-2 streak.

Senior middle hitter Paige Berriochoa registered 13 kills, nine digs and two blocks for the Comets, who received 11 kills, 12 digs and six aces from senior outside hitter Kelsey Strouse. Junior outside hitter Destiny Fahndrich added 11 kills and 11 digs.

La Salle (23-3) went on to beat Marist in the semifinals and will take on St. Helen’s today for the championship.

Class 4A

CROOK COUNTY 3, HIDDEN VALLEY 0: At Eugene, Crook County won the 4A playoff matchup 25-22, 25-9, 25-13 to advance to the semifinals of the state playoffs.

Crook County lost to Sisters in the semifinals, 16-25, 28-30, 24-26.