Sisters, the 2017 OSAA 4A champion; and Valley Catholic, the team it defeated in the championship match a year ago; both advanced to the semifinals with Friday afternoon sweeps in the first round of play at the 3A and 4A State Tournament being contested at Forest Grove High School.
Valley Catholic, the top overall seed in 4A, dominated its match versus No. 8 La Grande, winning 25-12, 25-9, 25-9. Sisters, on the other hand, played a much closer match as the No. 4 overall seed with No. 5 Hidden Valley.
Valley Catholic needed little time to establish its dominance versus La Grande. The Valiants used three early kills from physical OH Kayla Robbins, the only senior on the roster; in building a 7-1 first-set advantage. La Grande, which got nice moments from Presley Justin and Riana Scott, was never in that set or any other. Valley Catholic put constant pressure on the Tigers with their serve and went on long runs routinely. Sophomore Abby Rewers was virtually unstoppable behind the service line, while sophomore middle Madeline Klopcic gave the Valiants jolts of energy at the net.
Sisters had to work harder to reach the semis, which will be played later this evening. The Outlaws played a back-and-forth first set with Hidden Valley, with neither team taking control. Tough serving from senior setter Rachel Polster gave Hidden Valley a 14-10 cushion midway through the first, but Sisters went on an 11-3 run, capped by Samantha Silva’s ace, to go in front, 21-16. Hidden Valley roared right back on the serve of Hallee Jessee and the hitting of Elizabeth Devos and scored six straight to take a 22-21 lead. Two massive blocks late by freshman middle Greta Davis gave Sisters the first set point at 24-23, but Devos saved it with a kill for Hidden Valley. Davis hit through the block to put Sisters on top once more and the Outlaws hung on to win in extra points, 26-24, on a Mustang hitting error.
Terrific serving from Addy Myhre, including three straight aces, helped Sisters to a 10-6 lead in the second set. Hidden Valley had another rally in it and led 13-12 after a big Jessee block. But this set (and the rest of the match for that matter) belonged to Sisters’ senior OH Kendra Sitz. Sitz not only scored with athletic attacks on the left side, her passing and defense were nothing short of sensational. She helped steady Sisters in the middle of the second set and she and libero Sydney Head gave setter Ellie Rush plenty of options. Two kills from MB Sophia Silva put the Outlaws ahead for good. Davis’ solo stuff capped a 13-3 closing run that gave Sisters a two-set advantage.
Hidden Valley appeared poised to extend the match when the Mustangs took a 13-10 lead in the third, when Treena Toth sandwiched aces between a Grace Landis kill. Sisters stayed close then went ahead for good on a 4-0 run that featured two Sitz kills. Hidden Valley never got closer than two the rest of the way and the Outlaws closed on a 3-0 run to complete the sweep.
In 3A, top-seeded Cascade Christian, the two-time reigning champions, reached the semifinals with a morning sweep. Blanchet Catholic, South Umpqua and Santiam Christian also won in sweeping fashion.