CENTRAL POINT — With its perfect Midwestern League record on the line, the Crater volleyball team received one of its toughest tests of the season Tuesday at Crater High School.
Nehkyah Ellis recorded 33 kills and the newest member of the starting lineup, sophomore middle hitter Avery Hanson, scored two crucial points down the stretch to help the Comets hold off Churchill, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 15-10.
In the fifth set, the Comets jumped out to a 5-2 lead before the Lancers knotted the score at 6-all. Later, when Crater grabbed a 12-9 edge, Hanson scored back-to-back points for the Comets with a block and a kill which increased the margin to 14-9. The Lancers scored a point before hitting the ball long and out of bounds sealed the victory for the Comets (15-1, 12-0 MWL).
“It was a battle,” said Crater coach Leaf Jensen. “We just couldn’t get out of our own way and struggled at times, and gave up early leads. We were battling oursleves until the fifth (set) when we led from the get-go.”
Ellis also had three aces and Hanson finished with six kills and six blocks. Ashtyn Slater registered nine kills, setter Kylie Anderson amassed 50 assists and 12 digs, libero Rane Jensen came up with 18 digs and defensive specialist Aubrey Kievit added 15 digs for the Comets.
NORTH EUGENE 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eugene, Eagle Point’s passing was out of sync and North Eugene, one of the top teams in the Midwestern League, took advantage with a 25-19, 25-14, 25-17 victory.
Riley Shopp put up six kills, three digs and two blocks for the Eagles (3-9, 2-8 MWL), while Kierssa Hogan went for three kills, eight digs and 16 assists.
SHELDON 3, NORTH MEDFORD 1: North Medford came out strong but ran out of gas down the stretch as Sheldon earned a 27-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-11 Southwest Conference victory at North Medford High.
North Medford’s Lauren Barry registered 14 kills and 23 digs, Kyleigh Lopez went for 31 assists and Ella Ivens had 14 digs and three aces.
The Black Tornado (11-8, 2-4 SWC) also picked up five kills and five aces from freshman Jackie Aukusitino and five kills and three aces from Kamaile Kaeo.
GRANTS PASS 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 2: At Grants Pass, Grants Pass prevailed in the back-and-forth Southwest Conference match, 25-11, 21-25, 25-15, 19-25, 15-7.
For South Medford (7-7, 1-4 SWC), Catherine Rostel had 13 kills and four blocks, and sophomore Amanda Drane, up from the junior varsity, amassed 40 digs in her debut on the varsity.
The Panthers also got 10 kills from Maggie Hutto, five blocks from Evelyn Laupola and 34 assists from Matlyn Leetch.
Grants Pass improved to 7-13 and 1-4.
HENLEY 3, PHOENIX 1: At Phoenix, Phoenix played Henley tough early but was inconsistent putting the ball in play from there as the Hornets prevailed, 25-22, 21-25, 25-15, 25-15.
The Pirates (5-14, 2-4 Skyline Conference) picked up nine kills and nine digs from Katelyn Hanson, five kills two aces and a pair of blocks from Josie Bolstad and 11 digs, two kills and a couple of aces from Abigail George.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, BROOKINGS-HARBOR 0: Caroline McMahon posted 18 kills and served the final nine points of the third set of Cascade Christian’s 25-17, 25-17, 25-7 home victory over Brookings-Harbor.
McMahon had six aces during her nine-point streak and had eight of her 11 aces in the third set. The senior outside hitter also came up with 11 digs for the Challengers (13-3, 5-1 Far West League), who received four blocks from outside hitter Hannah Stanfield, and 23 assists and three aces from setter Taylor Cave.
SOUTH UMPQUA 3, ST. MARY’S 0: At Myrtle Creek, Far West League leader South Umpqua dispatched St. Mary’s, 25-17, 25-17, 25-11.
South Umpqua (13-2, 6-0 FWL) needed late runs, sparked by its defense, in the first two sets to pull away from the Crusaders (8-12, 3-3).
Katie Rietmann led St. Mary’s with six kills, and Hallie Shean and Natalie Thickett added five apiece. Rietmann also tallied seven blocks.
The Crusaders’ Ashley Gurr had 16 assists, and Shean went 10-for-12 with an ace behind the serve line. Lauren Russo contributed fine passing.
ILLINOIS VALLEY 3, BUTTE FALLS/CRATER LAKE 2: At Cave Junction, Illinois Valley earned its first triumph of the season in the Southern Cascade League match, 25-10, 25-27, 19-25, 25-18, 15-9.
Jaimee Byrum had 22 and Lucia Damiana 21 of the 118 digs for Butte Falls (1-7, 1-5 SCL).
Ellie Columbus served 21 times and recorded five aces. Byrum also paced the team with seven of its 19 kills.
Illinois Valley is 1-12 and 1-6.
ROGUE VALLEY ADVENTIST 3, PROSPECT 0: At Prospect, Rogue Valley Adventist held off Prospect for a 25-15, 25-13, 26-24 win.
Prospect (3-8, 1-7 Mountain Valley League) picked up 12 digs from libero Leeanna Lands, four blocks and three kills from freshman middle hitter Tianna McGonagle, and five aces from setter Lexi Stockebrand.
RVA jumped to 9-2 overall and 7-2 in MVL action.