Minus one of its key outside hitters, Cascade Christian’s volleyball team had to reshuffle the deck and went through a learning experience in splitting a nonleague doubleheader with Vale and South Umpqua at Cascade Christian High on Saturday.
The Challengers, two-time defending state champions at the Class 3A level, downed Vale 25-20, 25-17, 25-9 before having their nine-match winning streak snapped by South Umpqua, 25-20, 25-13, 25-17.
“I don’t like to lose but I’m not necessarily disappointed in the loss,” said Cascade Christian head coach Rob Kleker. “We got to learn a little bit about ourselves today.”
With junior outside hitter Olivia Borg unavailable due to a wedding, the Challengers moved players around started slowly against Vale. Senior outside hitter Caroline McMahon notched 15 kills and four aces, while senior Kaylee Cannon added five kills and sophomore Hannah Stanfield had four kills.
In a match against South Umpqua, which will be part of the Far West League this year with the Challengers (4-1), Cascade Christian didn’t have any answers for the scrappy Lancers (5-1).
“They came out and hit us in the mouth a little bit and kind of woke us up,” said Kleker, whose team’s last loss was against Hidden Valley on Oct. 19, 2017. “We didn’t really know what to expect as a nonleague match against a new league opponent and they just got after us, they just communicated better and passed the ball better today.”
McMahon notched 15 kills, while Stanfield, Cannon and senior Gabbi Burton each had three kills. Cannon added three aces, while sophomore Taylor Cave had 23 assists.
NORTH WINS BRACKET: At Canby, North Medford won the silver bracket in the Canby tournament, beating La Salle, 27-25, 25-18 to claim the title.
The Black Tornado topped McKay, 25-14, 25-11, in its first bracket match.
Middle hitters Jenna Sandstrom and Jackie Aukusitino keyed North’s attack and “got a lot of touches and big blocks for us,” said coach Malcolm Munson. Ella Ivens was solid in serve-receive and Lauren Barry was the offensive catalyst.
The Tornado placed second in its pool, beating South Albany, 25-8, 25-9; splitting with Rex Putnam, 14-25, 25-16; and splitting with Forest Grove, 24-26, 25-11.
ST. MARY’S DROPS THREE: At Reedsport, St. Mary’s went 0-3 in the Reedsport Tournament.
The Crusaders fell to Coquille, 25-20, 14-25, 10-15; Weston-McEwen, 25-19, 21-25, 13-15; and Grant Union, 13-25, 25-25.
For the Crusaders, Hallie Shean had 18 kills, Natalie Thickett 17 kills and Ashley Gurr 46 assists in the three matches.
Abbie Christman and Katie Rietmann also had strong tournaments for St. Mary’s (3-6).