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Prep Volleyball: Challengers claim league crown

The fifth time is the charm.

That’s what it comes down to for Cascade Christian and South Umpqua following the final volleyball matches of the Far West League season.

Cascade Christian closed out league play with a sweep of rival St. Mary’s on Tuesday at St. Mary’s, 25-17, 25-18, 25-16.

The victory gave the Challengers a share of the FWL crown with South Umpqua — both finishing 9-1 in league and having won home matches against each other — and sets up a seeding game for the league’s No. 1 and 2 state playoff berths. The deciding match is tentatively set for 2 p.m. Saturday at North Valley High in Merlin.

They’ve met four times this season, including twice in tournaments, and have gone 2-2.

The league title is the eighth straight for Cascade Christian (18-5 overall), the two-time defending state champion.

Against St. Mary’s (10-14, 5-5), Caroline McMahon had 17 kills, Olivia Borg five kills and three aces and Taylor Cave 25 assists and four aces.

Plays were made throughout the ranks, said Cascade Christian coach Rob Kleker.

“We kind of know Carrie is going to get her kills,” he said, “but it’s nice when she’s getting the majority of the swings and we’re still getting quality swings from other kids on the floor.”

He lauded the Challengers’ passing and up-tempo play.

On senior night for third-place St. Mary’s, which is on the cusp of an at-large berth to the playoffs — the rankings freeze next Tuesday — Natalie Thickett returned from a concussion and had nine kills and was 11-for-11 serving, and Katie Rietmann had five kills and four blocks.

Abbie Christman was 9-for-10 serving with two aces and added three blocks.

Lauren Russo tallied nine digs and Ashley Gurr 14 assists.

SOUTH EUGENE 3, NORTH MEDFORD 2: At Eugene, Lauren Barry amassed 22 kills, 21 digs and four aces for North Medford, but for the second time this season, the Black Tornado went the distance with South Eugene only to fall shy, 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 16-14.

In a game filled with long rallies, the Black Tornado (16-11, 4-5 SWC) produced a season-high 106 digs with Ella Ivens notching 25 and Riley Stewart going for 16 digs and three kills.

Setter Kyleigh Lopez generated 33 assists and 15 digs for the Black Tornado, which picked up seven kills from Jenna Sandstrom.

The Axe climbed to 16-8 overall and 6-3 in the SWC.

ROSEBURG 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0: Roseburg maintained a tie for second place in the Southwest Conference with a 25-19, 25-20, 25-17 triumph.

The Indians are 12-9 and, in the SWC, 6-3 and tied with South Eugene.

South Medford dropped to 7-13 and 1-8.

SHELDON 3, GRANTS PASS 1: At Grants Pass, Grants Pass played the Southwest Conference’s top team tight before Sheldon prevailed, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23 victory.

The Cavers fell to 10-17 overall and 2-7 in the SWC, while the Irish hiked their record to 18-7 and 8-1.

ASHLAND 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eagle Point, Sydney Philpott had 19 digs and two aces, Grace Angermeier had 17 assists and eight digs and the Grizzlies earned their second win in a row, 25-15, 25-5, 29-27, at Mountain Avenue Gym.

The Grizzlies (6-12, 5-9 Midwestern), who edged South Medford in five sets in a nonleague match Monday, also received an outstanding performance from Sophia Wieneck, who had seven assists, seven digs and four aces. Emily DeVall added a team-high nine kills.

The Eagles (4-12, 3-10) were led by Emmalee Stevens (46 digs, two aces) and Alyson Scheffler (23 digs, 10 kills). Junior varsity call-up Hailey Burcham added three kills and three digs.

NORTH VALLEY 3, PHOENIX 1: At Merlin, Phoenix had a hard time handling North Valley’s serve and the Knights took the season finale for both squads, 25-15, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19.

Josie Bolstad posted eight kills, three blocks and two aces for the Pirates (7-17, 3-7 Skyline Conference), who got six kills, five aces and five digs from Katelyn Hanson.

The Pirates picked up 18 assists, four aces and a pair of kills from Anna Ellis and five kills, four aces and two blocks from Makenna Page.

The Knights (6-14, 5-5) finished third in the Skyline Conference.

ILLINOIS VALLEY 3, ROGUE RIVER 1: At Rogue River, Rogue River outlasted Illinois Valley in the second set but the Cougars prevailed, 25-20, 25-27, 25-8, 25-14.

The Chieftains fell to 2-13 overall and 1-10 in the Southern Cascade League while the Cougars moved to 2-15 and 2-9.

BUTTE FALLS/CL 3, LAKEVIEW 2: At Buttte Falls, Butte Falls hung in for a 21-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-16, 17-15 Southern Cascade League win.

The Loggers (3-10, 3-8 SCL) amassed a season-high 178 digs. Rocky Scott led with 32, and Mycala Patereau had 31.

Jaimee Byrum posted 12 kills and Ellie Columbus had 10. Scott notched 28 service points, and Patereau tallied 22, including three aces.