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- Written by Bruce McCain
- Last Updated on June 27, 2012
- Published on November 4, 2006
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In 2005 Estacada defeated North Bend for the 3A championship. Both of those schools, along with Henley (4th place in 2005) are back at Lane Community College, but this time in the new 4A bracket. Meanwhile, the eight-team 3A quarterfinal bracket features perennial favorite Burns, which will be challenged by five former 2A schools with deep playoff experience. If nothing else, the OSAA reclassification has provided for some competitive bracket play at each venue, and the 3A bracket is no exception.
Here’s a look at Friday’s quarterfinal matches.
Sheridan (WVL) v. Burns (EOL). On paper, this appears to be a total mismatch between a pre-season favorite to win it all and a 5th-place team that just happened to claim its league #2 seed and win its opening round OSAA match.
Sheridan shouldn’t be here. At least that’s what the regular season standings indicate. After all, the West Valley League boasts Gervais, Valley Catholic, and Willamina even after the departure of former WVL powers Oregon Episcopal School and Santiam Christian to other leagues following reclassification. The Spartans finished 8-6 in WVL play and in fifth place. So, with little to lose, Sheridan proceeded to beat, in order, Valley Catholic (3-1), Dayton (3-0) and Willamina (3-0) before finally running out of steam against Gervais in the WVL district finals. Even then, the Spartans managed to take a game from the Cougars, losing 3-1. Sheridan continued its Cinderella season with a first round 25-19, 26-24, 25-10 sweep over Reedsport (Sunset Six #2). If the Spartans are seeking more opportunities to be the 3A giant killers, they need to look no further than Friday’s early opener against Burns. Sheridan placed one player, sophmore Bethany Dickey, on the WVL 1st Team.
Burns was considered by many an early favorite to win the 3A title, especially by those unfamiliar with some of the newly promoted 2A schools. Since 1990, the Hilanders have participated in the OSAA 3A playoffs every year except 1994. In the past three seasons, coach Paula Toney’s team has taken home trophies for 3rd (2005), 1st (2004) and 2nd (2003). In 2006 Burns continued its regular season dominance, winning the Eastern Oregon League with a perfect 10-0 record. Burns also made the most of its tournament chances in 2006 with several impressive showings. After a slow season start at the Pendleton Tournament (consolation champs), Burns won its own Invitational, followed by a strong showing at the Sisters Tournament. After beating #1 ranked 4A Estacada, the Hilanders fell to #3 ranked Henley in the semi-finals. A week later, Burns made its debut at the Santiam Christian Tournament a worthwhile venture as the Hilanders went undefeated in games and matches to beat Myrtle Point, 25-15, 25-8 in the championship match. The Hilanders (EOL #1) made short work of Warrenton (L&C #4) 25-10, 25-12, 25-7 in the first round. Burns is led by 3A POY favorite Jessica Clemens, who is surrounded by an exceptionally solid team that is often overlooked by awed spectators following Clemens’ every move.
OES (L&C) v. Santiam Christian (PacWest). After moving up a classification and into different leagues, the former WVL opponents meet once again in the OSAA playoffs.
Oregon Episcopal School is the defending OSAA 2A state champion. After moving up to 3A, the Aardvarks have not missed a beat, going undefeated in match play all year, while dropping only one game in the process. The Lewis & Clark League provided little competition for OES, which zipped through the L&C regular season and district playoffs to claim the league top seed. In the opening round, OES knocked off former WVL rival Willamina, 25-17, 25-19, 25-19. A year ago, OES beat the Bulldogs, 26-24, 25-23 to win the 2A title. The Aardvarks are led by junior Libby Morrison, the 2005 2A POY, 2006 L&C POY and guaranteed 3A 1st team All-State this year.Morrison is supplemented by 6’4” Alexandra Mason, also a 2005 2A 1st Team All-State player, and 2006 L&C 1st Team selection.
Santiam Christian, which won the 2A 3rd place trophy last year, won the newly configured PacWest in 2006 with a perfect 14-0 record. The Eagles, who host their premier 3A tournament in October, are led by senior Becky May, the 2006 PacWest POY. SC head coach Kim McLain was named PacWest COY in its inaugural season as well. Santiam Christian beat Coquille (Sunset Six #4) 25-19, 25-13, 25-15 to advance to the quarterfinal opener against OES. Last month at the DeLaSalle tournament, Santiam Christian dropped two games to OES in the only meeting this year between the former WVL rivals.
Creswell (PacWest) v. Gervais (WVL). This match pits the PacWest 3rd place team against a league champion capable of winning it all.
Creswell is a PacWest refuge from the former 3A Sky-Em league. After finishing 7-7 in the Sky-Em in 2005, the Bulldogs posted a much improved 11-3 record in the PacWest this year to finish tied with Regis behind undefeated Santiam Christian. Creswell beat Waldport, 3-0, to claim the PacWest #3 seed and traveled to Rainier (L&C #2) in the OSAA first round. The Bulldogs left the rainy Columbia River town with a 25-17, 25-23, 25-18 sweep over the Columbians. Creswell is led by seniors Kaelene Spence and Alicia Sells, both PacWest 1st Team selections in 2006.
Gervais is yet another former 2A power now making noise in the new 3A classification. Formerly of the 2A Tri-River Conference, the Cougars found themselves moved into the new 3A West Valley League, which itself built a well-deserved reputation as the most powerful 2A volleyball league. Gervais lived up to that reputation, running the table at 14-0 in league play to claim the title and #1 state seed. In first round play, Gervais rolled over Nyssa (EOL #3) 25-20, 25-13, 25-11 to reach the 3A quarterfinals. Gervais qualified for the OSAA 2A playoffs in 2004 and 2005. At last year’s 2005 2A tournament, the Cougars failed to emerge from its pool that contained OES, Myrtle Point and Sherman County. In 2006 Gervais has not lost a five game match all year, although the Cougars did drop a 2-1 tournament match to Santiam Christian in the SC Tournament. The Cougars are led by WVL POY Emily O'Neal, and seniors Krystina Stricker (WVL 1st Team) and Andrea Belleque (WVL 1st Team). Cougar coach Molly McCargar was also named WVL COY for 2006.
Vale (EOL) v. Myrtle Point (Sunset Six). This quarterfinal match showcases two more schools that participated in the 2005 2A tournament, though both are best remembered as traditional 3A powers.
Vale is back in 3A again after a four-year cycle in the now extinct 2A Wapiti League. The Vikings reached the OSAA 2A playoffs in 2004 and 2005. This year the Vikings finished 6-4 in the 3A Eastern Oregon League and claimed the EOL #2 state seed and a first round home match against Regis (PacWest #2). In a five-game thriller, the Vikings knocked off the Rams, 25-21, 28-26, 17-25, 20-25, 15-11 to advance to the 3A quarterfinals. In last year’s 2A tournament, Vale survived Friday night pool play, only to lose to OES and Portland Christian in Saturday’s bracket. Like many schools from Eastern Oregon, Vale brings a competitive toughness to each match that often is not reflected in the team’s record.
Myrtle Point also returned to 3A after a four-year stint in the former 2A Big Fir League. During their 2A run, the Bobcats qualified for the OSAA 2A playoffs in all four years. This year, Myrtle Point (10-0) went undefeated to win the new 3A Sunset Six League. In the OSAA first round, the ‘Cats swept Neah-Kah-Nie (L&C #3), 25-15, 25-14, 25-20. In last year’s 2A tournament, the Bobcats failed to get out of pool play. However, earlier this year at the Santiam Christian Tournament, Myrtle Point faced Burns in the tournament championship in what some observers predicted could be the 2006 OSAA 3A championship match.