Challengers clinch No. 1 playoff spot

St. Mary’s managed one improbable volleyball win Saturday in the Southern Cascade League playoffs but top-ranked Cascade Christian made sure that number wouldn’t be two during an impressive showing in its home gym.

Facing Lakeview for the right to play the host Challengers for the SCL’s No. 1 seed to the Class 3A state playoffs, St. Mary’s dropped the first two sets and trailed 9-3 in the deciding fifth set before rallying for an unlikely triumph, 19-25, 17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 16-14.

“I’m pretty sure I lost about five years off my life,” said St. Mary’s head coach Katie Miller. “I personally don’t know of many teams that come back after losing the first two and are down 9-3 in Game 5, that to me is just crazy.”

Cascade Christian head coach Rob Kleker was similarly wowed by watching the match, but his players weren’t about to let down after a stellar season and cruised in the SCL championship, 25-7, 25-13, 25-9.

“The nice thing is I don’t think the kids needed a ton of motivation,” said Kleker. “We’re still working through bugs and not where I want it to be, to be honest, since losing Alyssa (Vaughn) but the kids did a good job of making sure we kept St. Mary’s in difficult spots and executed the way we needed to.”

Challengers junior Caroline McMahon led the charge with nine kills and 12 digs, including one in which she went to the floor to get the ball to setter Allison Winter and then returned in an instant to put the ball away for a kill.

“Carrie makes things happen on the floor,” said Kleker. “It’s sheer will for her. The biggest thing about Carrie is she loves the game and she plays the game as hard as she can because she loves it so much.”

Winter finished with 22 assists and three aces, while Kaylee Cannon had six kills and Aubrey Kievit 14 digs and four aces for Cascade Christian (21-3). Vaughn was lost for the season after tearing her ACL and meniscus two weeks ago.

Playing without leading outside hitter Hallie Shean, who tore her ACL Tuesday, St. Mary’s (11-14) got a bunch of key contributions to pull off the comeback and secure its spot in the state playoffs. Susanna Schatz was 18-for-20 serving with seven aces, including three during a key surge in the fifth set that trimmed the team’s deficit to 14-11. Grace Johnson then came on and served out the rest of the game for the win.

Also against Lakeview, Katie Rietmann had five kills, Olivia King added four kills and Abbie Christman had three kills, five blocks and 15-for-15 serving with three aces. The Crusaders managed 18 aces overall in the match, with Ashley Gurr posting six of them to go with 18 assists.

The 3A state playoffs begin next Saturday.

CHURCHILL 3, ASHLAND 1: At Eugene, Churchill defeated visiting Ashland 25-15, 25-13, 19-25, 25-19 in the Midwestern League regular season finale for both teams.

Ashland wrapped up its regular season 5-13 overall and 5-9 in MWL play, while Churchill moved to 8-11 and 7-7. The Grizzlies will face Crescent Valley in a Class 5A play-in match on Tuesday.


HOSANNA CHRISTIAN 68, BUTTE FALLS 6: At Klamath Falls, Butte Falls scored on a 20-yard pass in the second quarter but the Loggers (3-2) could not slow Hosanna Christian in their season finale.

Silas Sanchas ran for three touchdowns to lead Hosanna Christian, which outgained Butte Falls in total offense 372-38.

Butte Falls;0;6;0;0;—;6

Hosanna Christian;30;8;24;6;—;68

HC — S. Sanchas 16 run (Sanchas run)

HC — S. Sanchas 24 run (Mick pass from Cole)

HC — M. Sanchas 54 run (Watah pass from Cole)

HC — Crawford 12 run (run failed)

BF — 20-yard pass, no names provided (pass failed)

HC — Moore 5 pass from Crawford (Maupin pass from Crawford)

HC — S. Sanchas 4 run (Moore pass from Cole)

HC — Maupin 18 pass from Crawford (Maurer run)

HC — Coleman 10 run (Moore run)

HC — Maupin 19 pass from Moore (run failed)

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