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- Written by Kelly Atkinson (Gollygal)
- Last Updated on June 27, 2012
- Published on November 5, 2008
- Hits: 2704
After two months of conference matches and two weeks of playoffs, the final Elite 8 have been determined. None of which are strangers to the State Tournament. All of which finished the season ranked in the top 10 coaches poll. The upper bracket consists of the 8th ranked Vale Vikings, 6th ranked Rainier Columbians, 9th ranked Creswell Bulldogs and (T)2nd ranked Sheridan Spartans. These 4 teams kick off the tournament with 8:00am matches. The lower bracket begins at 10:00am and is jam-packed with talent. All 4 teams, have been ranked in the top 5 all season long. Competition promises to be fierce. Consisting of the 4th ranked Cascade Christian Challengers, T-2nd ranked Santiam Christian Eagles, 5th ranked Valley Catholic Valiants and #1 ranked Burns Hilanders. The winners of the 4 morning matches will continue their State Championship quest and play again in the evening at 6:30pm. The best each losing team can hope for is a 4th place finish when they resume play at 8:00am Saturday morning. Amazingly, 6 of the 8 teams in this tournament were here last year and, as chance would have it, the two teams that were not here, Vale and Rainier, face one another in the opening match.
The Vale Vikings will travel the furthest this year to attend the tournament, 375 miles to be exact. They are coached by MaryAnn Standage who remarkably, began the Vale volleyball program in 1975 and has been the head coach since, 33 years. She has 4 State Volleyball Championships (3 consecutive) to account for plus numerous appearances and top 8 finishes while her teams have competed in both 2A and 3A classifications. She also coached Vale Basketball for 20 years, winning 2 State Titles. In 2007, MaryAnn was inducted into the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame for her many years of contribution to High School sports. After graduating 10 seniors from last years team, it's quite an accomplishment to make it to the finals. Vale is led by senior, EOL First-Team selections Chloe Winters, junior Shelby Mooney & freshman Amy DeLong, 2nd team All-League Libero Janessa Cooper and Sophomore Setter, Brooke Hawkins along with All-League Defensive Specialist Kayla Voorhees & Honorable Mention, Senior Setter, Daishel Clark. Vale is the #2 seed out of the Eastern Oregon League.
Rainier Columbians are coached by 2nd year head coach, Laurie Womack who also spent 2 years as an assistant. Rainier's last appearance at the State Tournament was in 2004. The Columbians won back to back State Titles in 1992 & 1993. Representing the #1 seed from the Lewis & Clark League, Rainier finished the season 21-6 with a perfect 12-0 League record. Led by senior MH, Raeanne Hanks, Libero, Zaschia Walker, MH, Mollee Schwegler, OH, Niki Wagner and junior Setter, Cassie Hanks. Raeanne Hanks at 5'10 is Rainiers tallest player with the remaining starters averaging 5'6. But what Rainier lacks in height, they make up for in tenacious defense.
Cresswell Bulldogs finished 5th place in last years tournament. Coached by 12 year head Coach Anna Baltrusch, the Bulldogs enter as the #2 seed from the PacWest League. After winning 3 straight games in the first round against Gold Beach to get here, this 9th ranked team will open the tournament facing 2nd ranked Sheridan. While finishing with a league record of 12-2, Creswell has been to the State Tournament 6 of the last 10 years. Led by sophomores Chandler Gabrio and Jamie McMahon and junior Chelsie Joyce, this group is young and gives their fans high hopes of good things to come.
Sheridan Spartans return to the tournament tied with Santiam Christian as the #2 ranked team in the State. Coached by Matt Leichty, in his 8th year as head coach, the Spartans make their 3rd straight appearance at Lane. Finishing their regular season play with a 35-3-1 overall record and a 13-1 league record they ended in a tie with conference rival Valley Catholic forcing a playoff to determine the #1 and #2 seed for the West Valley League. Sheridan prevailed in an exciting 3-1 win. Led by WVL's Player of the Year and 2007 2nd Team All State Player, senior, Bethany Dickey along with 1st Team All League juniors Amber Moser and KayLeigh Whelchel. Coach Leichty can't say enough about these talented players and how well his entire team has come together stating most of them have played 3 years varsity together. With Bethany being his most complete, solid, all-around player, Amber Moser becoming one of the most dominant hitters in the State and KayLeigh Whelchel with her exceptional defensive skills, gives Sheridan high hopes of playing in the Championship match Saturday night.
Cascade Christian Challengers are coached by first year head Coach, Sabrina Schubert. The Challengers are in their 2nd year playing in a higher classification and are also in their second year of qualifying for the 3A State Tournament, the jump didn't seem to bother them much! CC has played in the State Tournament 8 of the last 10 years, making them one of the most respected teams here. Led by 2008 Sunset League Player of the Year, junior Rebecca Sellers, 1st Team All League junior Setter, Breanna Holtz and 1st Team All League, senior Libero Hannah Brewster, this team, chalk-full of height, talent and experience will be an exceptional team to watch in this tournament. Ranked 4th in the State coming into the tournament, CC finished the Sunset Conference as the #1 seed with a 14-0 record.
Santiam Christian Eagles enter as the #1 seed from the PacWest Conference, finishing their season with a 14-0 record, SC shares the #2 State ranking with Sheridan in the latest polls. Coached by Kim McClain for 9 years, SC has made 8 consecutive appearances in the State Tournament placing 3rd and 4th in the last 2 tournaments and winning a Championship in 2003. SC has become a common fixture at the State Finals and a team everyone respects and enjoys watching. With a roster full of underclassman and great height, look for SC to continue their consecutive appearances. SC is led by 2007 2nd Team-All Tournament selection, junior OH, Tayla Woods, junior Kiersten Hendrix and sophomore, 6'1 Anny Wruck. Santiam Christian also won the 2008 Dairy Farmers of America Academic Award for Volleyball with a team GPA of 3.75.
Valley Catholic Valiants, #2 Seed from the West Valley Conference with a League record of 12-2, with both losses coming from conference rival Sheridan. Coach Nolan Hee is in his 6th year as head coach, has taken his teams to State 5 of those 6 years. Finished 6th in last years tournament after facing powerhouse and #2 ranked Oregon Episcopal in the opening match and losing that match, sending them to the consolation side of the bracket. This year, VC's opening round draw isn't any better as they will face the #1 ranked Burns Hilanders. The Valiants are are another team in this tournament with a roster full of underclassmen. Consisting of 3 seniors, 5 juniors, 2 sophs and 2 frosh, we can expect to see the Valiants here for the next several years. Led by senior Taylor VanDomelen, juniors Melissa Lynn & Katie McAuliffe and sophomore, 5'11 Sam Kemper. Valley Catholic, coming out of the highly competitive and talented West Valley Conference should be battle tested and ready to give Burns their best shot.
Burns Hilanders, the periennial team of 3A Volleyball for the past two decades, (appearances in 17 out of the last 18 years). Burns is a team no other team enjoys having to face in the early rounds. Coach Paula Toney, in her 12th season, will bring the Lady Hilanders over the high desert, over the mountain and through the woods to the State Tournament for their 14th consecutive trip. Having won the State Title for the past 2 years, Burns is looking to accomplish what only 4 other schools in history have done, win 3 in a row. Joining the ranks of Gresham (only team to win 4 consecutive), Corvallis, Vale and Corbett would be a goal very few teams ever attain. Burns is the #1 seed out of the Eastern Oregon League and the #1 ranked 3A team in the State. Entering with a record of 43-2 overall, 10-0 conference, Burns is led by 2008 EOL Player of the Year and 2007 1st Team All Tournament, Senior, OH, Courtney Toney, 1st Team All League players, Senior, MH, Mattea Zabala & Senior, MH, Jessica Wheeler. Coach Toney praises the leadership of senior Ashley Schouviller who has been out all season after breaking her ankle and tearing all the ligaments/tendons in her ankle at the beginning of the season. Ashley has been beside the team every step of the way and has never missed a single practice, home game or away game . She shagged balls on crutches, served as tolerated, tossed balls and was the teams inspirational leader all season long. Burns starts 3 seniors, 1 junior, 1 sophomore and 2 freshman. Burns, like so many of the other teams mentioned above, should continue to make strong appearances at Lane for years to come.