EUGENE — The atmosphere was befitting a match between the two best volleyball teams in the Midwestern League.
And that made Crater’s thrilling, five-set victory over North Eugene all the more satisfying Thursday.
In a battle of undefeated MWL teams ranked among the state’s top 10 in the OSAA rankings — Crater is sixth and North Eugene eighth — the Comets prevailed 25-19, 23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12.
“It was intense,” said Crater coach Leaf Jensen, who’s team improved to 11-1 overall and 8-0 in league. “It was a lot of fun. Our conference is not super strong top to bottom, and this was really exciting.”
North Eugene, which dropped to 8-2 and 7-1, is the best team the Comets have faced this season.
“They’re good,” said Jensen. “They’re big, they play hard and intensely. We were battling back and forth and battling ourselves a little bit.”
The two teams took turns grabbing momentum the first four sets. In the fifth, Crater never trailed, but it was tied a couple times.
“We just kind of earned it at the end,” said Jensen. “They weren’t making mistakes.”
The Comets’ Nehkyah Ellis had 15 kills and 11 digs, Maya Van Hook 15 kills and six blocks, Addie Lowder 15 kills and five blocks and Ashtyn Slater 11 kills.
All four had kills as Crater closed out the match.
Jadyn Carothers amassed 55 assists, nine digs and five aces, while Rane Jensen had 22 digs and Heather Colmer 17 digs and an ace.
WILLAMETTE 3, EAGLE POINT 0: At Eugene, poor defense contributed to a 25-23, 25-9, 25-16 MWL road loss for Eagle Point.
Aly Scheffler led the Eagle Point front line with six kills and came up with 17 digs. Riley Shopp, an Eagle junior middle hitter, contributed four blocks, six digs and one kill and senior libero Emmalee Stevens dug 17 balls.
Eagle Point fell to 2-5 in the MWL and 3-6 overall.
ROSEBURG 3, NORTH MEDFORD 0: At Roseburg, Roseburg pulled off the Southwest Conference sweep, 25-18, 25-21, 25-18.
North Medford dropped to 10-6 overall and 1-2 in the SWC. Roseburg is 3-5 and 2-1.
Lauren Barry had 10 kills and nine digs for the Black Tornado, and Jenna Sandstrom produced five kills.
Allie Hertager notched 11 digs, Kyleigh Lopez 24 assists, Jackie Aukusitino three kills and two blocks and Kamaile Kaeo four kills and a block.
SHELDON 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 0: South Medford played SWC-leading Sheldon competitively but lost the home match, 25-20, 25-16, 25-16.
Sophomore libero Madalynn Strain was all over the court for the Panthers and notched 23 digs in an inspired effort.
Catherine Rostel, a sophomore outside hitter, paced the South Medford (7-5, 1-2 SWC) offense with 10 kills and hitter Maggie Hutto added six kills.
Sophomore Evelyn Laupola demonstrated some great timing as a middle and helped slow down the powerful Sheldon (11-4, 3-0) attack with six blocks.
GRANTS PASS 3, SOUTH EUGENE 0: At Grants Pass, Londyn Beck and Devin Ireland paced Grants Pass with nine kills each as the Cavers prevailed 28-26, 25-22, 25-22 in the SWC home contest.
Grants Pass (9-11, 1-2 SWC) faced a game point in the opening set then finished with a 7-2 run to take the game.
Brooklyn Hurd had 24 digs for Grants Pass and teammate Emily Rund handed out 24 assists and scooped nine digs.
PHOENIX 3, KLAMATH UNION 2: At Phoenix, Josie Bolstad’s serving helped Phoenix pull away in the decisive fifth set of the Skyline match and the Pirates posted a 16-25, 25-21, 12-25, 28-26, 15-5 victory.
Bolstad had a team-high six aces, with four coming in the fifth game. The senior middle also had six kills and one block.
Makenna Page, a senior outside hitter, pounded 10 kills and senior captain Katelyn Hanson provided eight kills and three blocks.
Setter Anna Ellis led Phoenix (4-9, 2-1 Skyline) with 18 assists and accounted for two aces.
SOUTH UMPQUA 3, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1: At Myrtle Creek, Cascade Christian couldn’t recover from a slew of unforced errors and letting the second set slip away in a 24-26, 30-28, 25-14, 25-17 Far West League road loss.
The Challengers (8-3, 2-1 Far West), ranked third in the 3A coaches poll, led the second game 21-16 before scrappy South Umpqua (8-1, 3-0) rallied in overtime.
Senior hitter Caroline McMahon put down 23 kills to accompany 16 digs for Cascade and senior middle Kaylee Cannon chipped in seven kills and 10 digs.
Challenger Taylor Cave, a sophomore setter, dished out 35 assists to go with five aces.
ST. MARY’S 3, SUTHERLIN 2: At Sutherlin, after winning the first two sets St. Mary’s lost momentum but regrouped to post a 25-18, 25-20, 14-25, 16-25, 15-10 Far West League victory.
Katie Rietmann, St. Mary’s senior middle, led the squad with 11 kills and added two blocks and junior outside Natalie Thickett provided nine kills.
Hallie Shean proved vital in the fifth set for the Crusaders (5-7, 2-1 FWL) by recording three of her four aces in the match. On the night, Shean went 11-for-13 serving and provided eight kills.
Crusader setter Ashley Gurr dished out 31 assists and libero Lauren Russo had 12 digs.
PROSPECT 3, TRIAD 1: At Prospect, Prospect earned its first league victory in more than a year, defeating Triad, 25-20, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17.
The Cougars’ previous Mountain Valley League win was on Oct. 14, 2016. They were 0-9 in league last season.
Prospect (3-5, 1-4 MVL) got seven kills and three blocks from 6-foot freshman Tianna McGonagle, 13 assists from junior Lexy Stockebrand and Leeanna Lands 20 digs.