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PREP VB: Comets pick up yet another sweep

EUGENE — The Crater volleyball team has found a nice rhythm in recent weeks, and that was once again on display Thursday night.

Continuing its trend for much of September, Crater picked up another straight-set win, beating Churchill 25-14, 25-11, 25-13 for their fifth straight victory to open Midwestern League play.

Crater has not dropped a set since its Sept. 6 nonleague victory over Mazama.

Since then, the Comets (8-2, 5-0 MWL) have extended their overall winning streak to six matches — one they will put on the line Saturday at the Rogue Valley Classic at North Medford High.

“It’s a good roll and one I hope continues,” said Crater head coach Leaf Jensen. “Our serve-receive has gotten a lot better lately, our defense has picked up and that’s something we’ve been working really hard on. Serve-receive and defense, that’s just been our main focus.”

Senior outside hitter Maddie Kocina recorded a team-high 10 kills and added seven digs to lead a balanced Comets attack against the Lancers (4-6, 2-2). Fellow senior outside hitter Kendra Bittle had nine kills, eight digs and three blocks.

Crater’s Alexa Gugliotta chipped in eight kills, five blocks and three aces, while Joslyhn Pope recorded 13 digs and two aces.

“We made a little switch in our rotation tonight and mixed up our outside hitters,” said Jensen. “We’ve been having one lull in the second set this season, but that (second set) went well tonight.”

SOUTH MEDFORD 3, WILLAMETTE 0: At Eugene, South Medford was able to bounce back after suffering its first Southwest Conference loss of the season by topping Willamette 25-12, 25-12, 25-14.

South Medford (10-3, 5-1 SWC) got nine kills and six aces from senior outside hitter Katie Clevenger, while freshman Mayen Akpan added five kills, four blocks and three aces.

The Panthers’ Cameron Christian finished with nine digs, while freshman setter Julia Slaughter had 15 assists and three aces.

Lola Horton chipped in with four kills and one block for South, which remained a game ahead of second-place Roseburg and Sheldon in the SWC standings.

ROSEBURG 3, NORTH MEDFORD 0: North Medford senior Maddie Blake had a strong overall night with five kills, five aces, 18 assists and eight digs but the Black Tornado came up on the wrong end of a 25-14, 25-17, 25-13 Southwest Conference matchup with visiting Roseburg.

Makenzee Running and Paije Carpenter also had five kills for North Medford (5-5, 2-2 SWC).

The Black Tornado will next host the Rogue Valley Classic on Saturday, with the championship match likely to take place around 4 or 5 p.m.

NORTH EUGENE 3, ASHLAND 1: At Ashland, Ashland was able to win its first set of the season, but the Girzzlies couldn’t close out in a 25-21, 21-25, 21-25, 17-25 loss to North Eugene at Mountain Avenue Gym.

Senior libero Maile Cooper had a career-high 29 digs and added four aces for Ashland (0-7, 0-5 MWL), which finished with 11 aces overall against North Eugene (9-5, 4-1).

Ashland junior outside hitter Lainie Carter had five kills, 18 digs and five aces, while senior Elle Lewis recorded 10 blocks and four kills.

Flannery Lundgren finished with six kills for the Grizzlies.

HENLEY 3, EAGLE POINT 1: At Klamath Falls, Eagle Point sophomore Addison Holcomb managed 17 kills and 13 digs and junior Emma Kness had a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs but the Eagles couldn’t stave off Henley in a four-set tilt.

Henley won 28-26, 26-24, 19-25, 25-23.

Makynlee Schauffler doled out 33 assists for the Eagles (4-4), while Abby Trautman had seven kills and 10 digs, Jaylinn Holte came up with 17 digs and Baylee Mullen added eight kills.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, SUTHERLIN 1: Visiting Sutherlin did well to keep Cascade Christian off-balance and a little uncomfortable at times but the Challengers rallied in the final three sets to claim the Far West League victory, 23-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-22.

Poppy Freeman had 13 kills and Madison Todd added eight kills and 12 digs for Cascade Christian (5-5, 3-1 FWL), which rebounded from a tough first-set loss to deny the Bulldogs.

Ellie Harrington had four aces and 11 digs and Claire Knips provided six kills for the Challengers, who were up 19-4 in the fourth set before staving off a comeback bid by Sutherlin (1-8, 1-3).

ST. MARY’S 3, SOUTH UMPQUA 0: St. Mary’s came out with aggressive serving, notching 13 aces, and swept South Umpqua, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15 on the Crusaders’ home court.

Senior Sydney Alexander was 17-for-18 from the service line with six aces for St. Mary’s (6-3, 3-0 FWL).

Kelsey Dunn had 10 kills and Maddie Ward added six kills for the Crusaders, while setter Kaitlyn Hansen provided 25 assists and 10 digs and Albie Borovansky had 16 digs.