PREP ROUNDUP: North posts sweep on senior night
A pregame celebration of the North Medford volleyball team’s six seniors carried some extra emotional weight into Thursday night’s match against South Eugene, but when it was time to play, the Black Tornado was ready to go.
Host North Medford opened the first set on a 12-0 run and used that monumental lead to close out the set 25-10, before winning each of the next two, 25-15, 25-21, to secure the Southwest Conference sweep over South Eugene.
“We came out on fire and we were ready to play,” North Medford head coach Josh Elbert said.
North seniors Emelia Thiring, Makayla Miller, Pa’oa Payne-Kaeo, Jordan Sandler, Jackie Aukusitino and Audrey Yechout were honored before the match, and each of them played important roles in the win.
Aukusitino led the way with 12 kills, while Thiring and Yechout added nine and seven kills, respectively. Miller served up seven aces, Payne-Kaeo had 29 assists and Sandler led the Black Tornado (11-7, 5-3 SWC) with 10 digs.
“Senior night, kind of emotional night for us, and the girls really played like it was their last match and they wanted to put on a good show,” Elbert said.
In the third, the Axe (6-13, 3-5) held a lead for a long portion of the set, improving its passing game while benefiting from a few unforced errors by North. But the Black Tornado rallied back to tie the set at 20-all, then scored three straight points, which was enough to stave off South Eugene for the win.
Aside from a 3-0 win against Grants Pass earlier this season, each of North’s other SWC wins required a fourth or fifth set — until Thursday.
“It was nice to finally close a team out in three that we should’ve closed out,” Elbert said.
North sits in second place of the SWC standings behind Sheldon, a half-game ahead of Roseburg with two matches left in the regular season. North plays rival South Medford on Tuesday and South Eugene again Wednesday.
ROSEBURG 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0: At Roseburg, Katie Clevenger had 18 kills and three digs and Brooke Johnston contributed six kills and two digs but South Medford came up short in the SWC match, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21.
Alexis Deschweinitz added 16 assists for the Panthers, who dropped their second straight match and moved to 8-9 overall and 3-5 in SWC play. Roseburg improved to 10-7 and 5-4.
NORTH BEND 3, ASHLAND 2: At North Bend, Ashland rallied back from a two-set deficit but ultimately came up a few points short in the fifth set, 19-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-20, 12-15.
Ashland (6-9, 6-7 Midwestern League) got a strong night offensively and on the block from senior Amelia Evans, who had 20 kills. Senior Cameron Christian added 23 digs.
North Bend improved to 14-1 overall and 12-1 in league.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, DOUGLAS 0: Host Cascade Christian won its eighth straight Far West League match in a 25-10, 25-17, 25-17 triumph over Douglas.
The Challengers (10-8, 8-1 FWL) saw sophomore Maddi Carter go for 16 kills and five aces, sophomore Molly Griffin tally 26 assists and junior Ellie Harrington post 23 digs. Freshman Poppy Freeman added six kills and three blocks for Cascade Christian.
Douglas fell to 4-11 overall and 1-8 in league play.
ST. MARY’S 3, BROOKINGS-HARBOR 1: At Brookings, St. Mary’s shrugged off an opening-set loss to upend Brookings-Harbor, 23-25, 25-13, 25-14, 25-17, for a Far West League victory.
Kelsey Dunn contributed 14 kills and five aces and Emma Johnston added 11 kills for the Crusaders (9-9, 5-4 FWL), who solidified their third-place spot heading into Tuesday’s regular-season finale against Cascade Christian.
Lainey Stranberg added seven kills, seven aces and 16 digs, while Maddie Ward had seven kills, Albie Borovansky added 20 digs and Kaitlyn Hansen had 34 assists.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 28, SPRINGFIELD 0: At Springfield, Austin Waits collected a pair of touchdown passes from Keith Reed in the first half and Kameron Rague tallied his first career TD to lead Cascade Christian to the nonleague win.
With about 5 1/2 minutes to go in the second quarter, Waits and Reed connected on a 10-yard pass to break a scoreless tie for the 3A Challengers (3-2). The two combined again with 47 seconds left in the first half to make it 14-0 on a 28-yard catch and run.
Rague, a freshman, broke a 17-yard run to put Cascade in scoring position late in the third quarter, then crossed from 3 yards out with six seconds to play in the frame to make it 21-0.
On the ensuing possession, Springfield lost its third fumble of the game and Tyler Almasy recovered at the Millers’ 25-yard line. Two plays later, Triston Wallace dashed into the end zone for a 24-yard score.
Springfield (3-5) had a 75-yard TD from Jack Wargo to Julian Gomez negated by an illegal block, then went further backward on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to negate the 5A Millers’ best scoring opportunity in the second half.
The Challengers limited the Millers to 149 total yards, with Bryson Cannon recovering two fumbles for Cascade.
CC — Waits 10 pass from Reed (Knobloch-Scott kick)
CC — Waits 28 pass from Reed (Knobloch-Scott kick)
CC — Rague 3 run (Knobloch-Scott kick)
CC — Wallace 24 run (Knobloch-Scott kick)
PHOENIX 4, KLAMATH UNION 0: At Klamath Falls, Phoenix did most of its damage before halftime and cruised to a Skyline Conference victory on the road.
Phoenix senior Victor Martinez scored three of the Pirates’ goals to earn a hat trick, the last of which gave the team a four-goal advantage. Senior Caden Gallegos also scored for Phoenix in the 31st minute off an assist from senior Jorge Mejia.
Phoenix (9-2, 5-2 Skyline) also had assists from sophomore Dominic Crenshaw and junior Daniel Palomino. Martinez scored his first goal against Klamath Union (1-6-2, 0-5-2) following a goal kick from senior goalkeeper Tucker Speaks.
PHOENIX 1, KLAMATH UNION 0: At Phoenix, Sofia Rodriguez scored in the 26th minute and goalkeeper Maria Pyeatt made that stand up with seven saves as Phoenix earned its first Skyline Conference victory.
Rodriguez collected a through ball from Carsyn Gallegos, saw it deflect off a Klamath Union defender before continuing to carry the ball into the KU zone and deposit a shot into the net for the Pirates (3-7, 1-6 Skyline).