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Ashland girls water polo team captures state title

Grizzlies beat top-seeded Hood River Valley in club sports title match

The Ashland High girls water polo team captured the title at a Class 5A club sports state championship tournament this past weekend in Corvallis, beating top-seeded Hood River Valley 10-8 on Saturday.

To reach the championship, No. 2 seed Ashland beat West Albany 7-6 on Friday afternoon.

“The two teams we played (over the weekend) have probably in recent history the richest history. They make up most of the recent state champions in the last seven or eight years,” Ashland head coach Andy Gramley said. “I think that was one thing that the girls should be really proud of.”

In the championship match, the Grizzlies got three goals, two assists and 12 steals from senior Mary Downs. Ashland junior attacker Tate Oliva scored a pair of goals and assisted on three others, while Riley Ledbetter had two goals and two steals.

In the semifinal win over West Albany, Oliva had three goals and sophomore attacker Kena Robertshaw had two goals.

“For our team, the balance of our team and, certainly our starting unit and the first few off the bench, there’s an ability to rely on each other for different things based on the need,” Gramley said. “They really leaned on each other in those two games.”

Ashland senior goalie Gillian Powell was named tournament MVP. Powell finished with seven saves against West Albany and 10 more in the title-clinching win over Hood River Valley. Robertshaw had a strong game defensively in the finale while being matched up with Hood River Valley’s top player.

The following Ashland players were first-team all-tournament selections: Powell, Oliva, Downs, Robertshaw. Senior Anna Sloan was a second team honoree.

The Ashland boys water polo team finished in fourth place at its respective club state tournament after falling to Hillsboro 23-11 in the third-place game.

Seniors Bodhi Johnson and Oliver Lynch were first-team all-tournament picks, while seniors Alder Collins, Logan Barber and goalie Sam Stiles were all second team honorees.

Water polo is not a sanctioned sport in Oregon by the Oregon School Activities Association, so players compete under a club sports umbrella that typically requires handling costs and fundraising for travel and competitions.

Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.

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