Eagle Point earns first-round bye to state

EAGLE POINT — Erin Hedrick and the Eagle Point volleyball team continued their October surge on Monday night.

Now they hope the momentum built during a four-match win streak can carry them to a win in the state playoffs for the first time in five years.

Hedrick had 13 kills and Kristin Wyatt added 11 more as the Eagles swept visiting Crater, 25-22, 32-30, 25-20, to earn the Southern Sky Conference's No. 2 seed to the Class 5A playoffs and a first-round bye.

The Eagles (7-7) will face Midwestern League champion Thurston in the second round Saturday night at 7 in Eugene. Crater, the SSC's No. 3 seed, will host South Albany in a first-round game on Wednesday. The winner of that match gets two-time defending state champion and top-ranked Crook County in the second round on Saturday.

"I think we've been playing really well the last couple of games," said Hedrick, a senior outside hitter who missed three weeks earlier in the year with a left ankle injury. "We've faced a couple of hardships early in the season, but we pulled it together."

The Eagles beat the Comets for the second time in as many weeks. The two squads split matches during the regular season, with each team winning on the road. While Eagle Point has won four straight, Crater has dropped five of its last six.

After losing an early 7-5 lead and dropping the first game of the match, Crater (5-6) came out strong in Game 2, jumping to leads of 13-8 and 22-17. But the Eagles fought back to even the game at 24, then staved off three game points before Angie Kalivas' kill gave them a 2-0 lead.

"That game ended up being the pivotal one in the match," Eagle Point coach Rob Klecker said. "We've really been working on teaching the kids to finish. It was almost 'who was going to outlast the other at that point?'"

Alyssa Brown had 30 assists and Kalivas had 16 digs for the Eagles. Eagle Point used a 7-1 run midway through Game 3 to snap a 7-all tie and take the lead for good. The Comets got within 17-15 on a Renee Murphy kill, but never got even.

Taylor Mackey had 16 kills and 17 digs to lead the Comets. Katie Higgins, Brie Britton and Sarah Haga had five blocks each, while Kayla Hopkinson had 28 aces.

"At this point in the season, you can't fix things," second-year Crater coach Kristina Alvarez said. "You can fine-tune things, but you can't go back and teach things that should have been doing in preseason."

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