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PREP VOLLEYBALL: North hangs tough, wins SOC tourney

Emelia Thiring (14) hits past Roseburg defenders Kennedy Bayliss Hines (13) and Ryley Bryson (14). Photo by Denise Baratta

CENTRAL POINT — North Medford was tested at each turn Saturday in the season-ending Southern Oregon Conference tournament, but the Black Tornado was equal to the challenge at Crater High.

North Medford scored a tight, three-set win in its semifinal opener, 25-23, 25-23, 27-25, over the host Comets, then capped the day with a 25-20, 25-21, 25-22 win over Roseburg in the championship match.

“It was just a matter of making sure that we stuck to our game plan and didn’t let anything get us down,” said North Medford coach Josh Elbert. “Anytime we got down, we managed to fight our way right back into it and close out the sets today. It was fun to watch the level of maturity on our team and how the girls never gave in.”

North Medford (13-2), which won seven straight to end the season, trailed in the first and third sets to Roseburg but was resilient in coming away on top.

As has been the case throughout the season, Catherine Rostel led the charge for North with 23 kills.

“She was on fire,” said Elbert of the senior outside hitter. “They had no answer for her.”

Audrey Yechout added eight kills and Matlyn Leetch had 26 assists in the championship match, while Sara Hamlin produced an incredible 31 digs.

Earlier against Crater, Rostel had 18 kills, 19 digs and two blocks and Yechout added nine kills, while Taryn Holmes gave her team a lift with momentum-changing service runs to go with three aces. Leetch finished with 22 assists, Hamlin had 24 digs and Emelia Thiring made two key blocks.

CRATER 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 2: At Central Point, Crater bounced back from a heartbreaking semifinals loss to North Medford to edge South Medford in the third-place final of the SOC tournament, 19-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 15-6.

In a back-and-forth clash with the Panthers (10-5), Kyrah Christensen had 14 kills, Kendra Bittle added 10 kills and Tessa Frodge came up with nine kills to help push the Comets (10-3) over the top.

Avery Hanson added six kills and seven blocks for Crater, while Kate Stidham had 36 assists and Kylie Anderson came up with 13 digs.

For South Medford, Katie Clevenger had 12 kills and Tes Wente added eight kills and seven blocks in the five-set clash. Evelyn Laupola added four kills and four blocks, Amanda Drane had 20 digs and Alexis Deschweinitz added 23 assists.

The Panthers, who lost in four sets against Roseburg in the semifinals, also got four kills apiece from Jessica Houston and Kiya Jackson.

Crater’s 25-23, 25-23, 27-25 semifinal setback against North was a battle, according to both coaches. Madison Kocina had nine kills, Frodge had six kills and Stidham provided 25 assists and 16 digs from her setter position.

Also for Crater against North, Christensen had five kills and joined Hanson and Bittle with four blocks apiece.

For South against Roseburg, Clevenger (22 kills), Wente (eight kills, four blocks), Aubrey Millar (six kills, three blocks) and Emily Fliegel (seven kills) had standout efforts.

ASHLAND 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Central Point, Ashland won in straight sets over Eagle Point to cap SOC tournament play for each team, with the Grizzlies prevailing 25-17, 25-16, 25-14 at Crater High.

Eagle Point’s passing was solid as Jaylinn Holte had 17 digs and Emma Poll added 14, while senior Kierssa Hogan came up big with four kills, seven digs, two blocks and 12 assists.

Also for the Eagles, Lily Bixler managed five kills and five digs, Kacy Whitman had five kills and two blocks and Chloe Pariani added six kills, two aces and two digs.

Eagle Point (0-13) opened the day with a three-set loss to Grants Pass, 25-17, 25-21, 25-14, where Hogan had another steady effort with three aces, five kills, five digs and eight assists. Emma Kness added 12 digs and two aces and Hailey Burcham had 12 digs, two kills and two aces.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN SECOND: At Creswell, Cascade Christian cruised past Clatskanie in the semifinals of the Class 3A culminating week tournament but found Burns to be too great of an obstacle in the championship match.

The Challengers (15-1) won 25-12, 25-12, 25-7 over Clatskanie in the eight-team tournament at Creswell High, then saw Burns end their unblemished season with a 25-15, 26-24, 25-16 score in the finals.

Kara Palmer finished with nine kills, Taylor Cave had 16 assists and Ania Farmer added five aces against Burns (15-1), which played solid throughout and applied steady pressure from the service line.

Against Clatskanie, Hannah Stanfield, Janie Kenaston, Palmer and Farmer had five kills apiece, with Farmer also adding three aces and Cave contributing 17 assists.