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Tough serving boosts Panthers to first win

KLAMATH FALLS — In terms of its service game, South Medford’s first two volleyball matches of the season were as different as night and day. And so were the outcomes.

South Medford swept host Mazama 25-15, 25-17, 25-14 in a nonconference match Thursday in Klamath Falls to earn its first victory of the season.

After being swept Tuesday by Crater, a match in which they missed 17 serves, the Panthers (1-1) bounced back big-time from the service line against Mazama, misfiring on just five attempts while racking up 16 aces, including six by freshman outside hitter Catherine Rostel.

“It’s amazing what serving tough does,” South coach Emily Brink said.

All three senior captains for the Panthers were standouts: outside hitter Chanel Groom had eight kills, two aces and four digs; libero Jayda Willis had 10 digs and two aces; and setter Mac Criswell had 17 assists and an ace. Rostel chipped in a solid all-around performance with seven kills and three digs.

“It was a total team effort and everyone contributed,” Brink said.

CRATER 3, THURSTON 0: At Springfield, Crater defensive specialist Heather Colmer compiled nine aces, including the game-deciding ace in the first game en route to a 26-24, 25-19, 25-18 triumph for the Comets.

Before Colmer’s game-clinching ace, and with the Comets (2-0) leading 25-24, junior outside hitter Nehkyah Ellis rolled her ankle and did not return to action. Before the injury, Ellis had already racked up eight kills.

Colmer also had seven digs while teammate Sydney Gray chipped in 10 digs and six kills, and Addison Lowder came up with five kills and three blocks.

KLAMATH UNION 3, ST. MARY’S 1: At Klamath Falls, St. Mary’s came out strong but was plagued by service errors throughout the match as Klamath Union went on to win the 19-25, 25-11, 26-24, 25-14 nonleague affair.

The Crusaders (0-2) received 10 kills from Katie Rietmann and five from Hallie Sheen, and Natalie Thickett scored three of the team’s seven aces.

ROGUE RIVER 3, PROSPECT 0: At Rogue River, Cassidy Bridges came up with four aces, three kills, nine digs and two blocks for Prospect but Class 3A Rogue River was too much in its 25-18, 25-17, 25-23 victory.

The Cougars (0-1) received two aces and four digs from McKenzie Thompson.

NORTH EUGENE 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, Emmalee Stevens had 18 digs and four aces for Eagle Point but North Eugene proved too much in a 25-15, 25-18, 25-21 Midwestern League victory.

Other standouts for the Eagles (0-1, 0-1 MWL) were Nauvoo Beal (six aces), Ryleigh Gainey (five kills) and Odie Rincones (five blocks).

ASHLAND 3, CHURCHILL 0: At Ashland, Emily DeVall’s pinpoint serving sparked Ashland’s sweep of Churchill, 25-23, 25-22, 25-18, in the Midwestern League opener for both teams.

DeVall, a junior outside hitter, served up four aces and led the Grizzlies (1-1, 1-0 MWL) on several long scoring runs. Alex Crane added six kills, Sydney Philpott 13 digs and Lili Smith four kills for Ashland.