North hangs tough in state volleyball opener
North Medford didn’t have its ‘A’ game, but the Black Tornado still got a passing grade in the first round of the Class 6A volleyball state playoffs Wednesday.
The 10th-seeded Black Tornado gutted out 22-25, 25-13, 25-21, 17-25, 15-11 victory over No. 23 Westview in the North Medford gym.
The win sends the Tornado (16-6) to a second-round matchup Saturday at Sunset of Portland. Sunset (19-6), the No. 7 seed, swept Sandy, 25-17, 25-19, 25-15.
North found itself in a hole after one set against Westview (13-13) but didn’t panic.
“We weren’t as sharp as we’ve been, but we were sharp enough to get them,” said Tornado coach Malcolm Munson. “One of the things we’ve talked about is the hallmark of a good team is that it finds a way to get it done even on a night where things aren’t really at there finest. So we did that. We were pleased with how the kids stuck together.”
The final set was a nail-biter until sophomore defensive specialist Jordan Sandler provided a spark for North. She served four straight points, including an inspiring ace.
“That changed the momentum for us,” said Munson.
Sandler put the Tornado up 13-10, and when it got the serve back, junior Taryn Holmes delivered the final two points.
“The kids came through and passed well when we needed to,” said Munson, “and that’s big in volleyball.”
Sandler had 18 digs and two aces, and Sara Hamlin did a nice job of getting the Tornado into its offense.
In the middle, sophomores Audrey Yechout and Jackie Aukusitino were sharp.
Yechout recorded nine kills, four blocks, 13 digs and an ace.
“She was really good tonight,” said Munson. “She’s been playing all around for us and really responding well. She hit the ball really well for us.”
Aukusitino had seven kills, three block and one block assist.
The two combined for only two errors in efficient performances.
“It’s good to see those young kids step up in a playoff situation and really come through,” said Munson.
Junior Hannah Drysdale amassed 40 assists, 11 digs and three kills. Senior Lauren Barry had 16 kills, 41 digs, three blocks and an ace. Holmes recorded 11 digs.
ST. MARY’S 2, CANYONVILLE ACADEMY 1: Tied at 1-all with just two minutes remaining, Milan Bobek drove in the game winner to cap District 5 champion St. Mary’s perfect season at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Bobek received the go-ahead opportunity on a pass from his brother, Radek. The Crusaders (12-0-1, 11-0 Dist. 5), who face a team to be determined Wednesday in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs, received their first goal from Will Kranenburg on a set-up from Charlie Read in the 19th minute.
St. Mary’s goalkeeper Hunter Holdermann made three saves.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 4, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0: Katie Erno scored, assisted and wreaked havoc defensively to power Cascade Christian to victory in its regular season finale at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
The Challengers (9-3-2, 4-2-2 Dist. 5), who earned the second seed in District 5, will venture into the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs on Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.
Coming off a two-game absence, senior forward Bryton Plankenhorn put the Crusaders on the scoreboard in the 11th minute with a penalty kick.
Erno gave the Challengers a 2-0 lead with a goal in the 49th minute before assisting on Elli Vanlandingham’s tally at the 58-minute mark.
Lauren Anderchuk added the Challengers’ final score in the 78th minute.
ST. MARY’S 3, LAKEVIEW 0: Sophomore Ryker Rothfus was on target for two goals and assisted on the other for District 5 champ St. Mary’s, which closed its regular season.
The Crusaders (10-3, 8-0 Dist. 5), who will host a Class 3A playoff game Wednesday, took charge when Rothfus scored in the first half on a feed from Riley Kreul.
In the 53rd minute, Rothfus set up Sophia Dobry, who put the Crusaders ahead 2-0 on a give-and-go before Dobry returned the favor by assisting on Rothfus’ second score late in the contest.