South Eugene forces playoff with Panthers

EUGENE — The South Medford volleyball team controlled its own destiny for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Southwest Conference entering Thursday's match against South Eugene.

The Panthers still can decide their own fate but it has come to this: a one game playoff to earn a bid to the state tournament.

And the Panthers must do it against the same team, South Eugene, that defeated them in straight sets on Thursday.

South Eugene downed South Medford 25-22, 25-19, 25-16 to force the playoff with the Panthers on Monday at 6 p.m. in Eugene.

"They had a really strong drive because the playoffs for them were on the line," South Medford assistant coach Sarah Goertiz said. "Part of it was that we knew we could come back and play again (in the playoff)."

South Eugene was led by Jamie McVicker with 13 kills and Kelly Kurlychek with 10 kills. Nicole Kuppens added four aces and four digs as the Axemen managed to hold off any serious pressure by South Medford, which was done in by serving errors.

"The confidence was down after the first game," Goertiz said. "When they made one mistake, the team morale was hard to bring back up.

"It's the end of the season, and I think the girls are tired. We just have to push a little bit more. Once we get to the playoffs, it's going to mean a lot more to those girls than they realize at this point."

NORTH MEDFORD 3, ROSEBURG 0 — At Roseburg, North Medford had already clinched its first SWC championship, but the third-ranked Black Tornado kept its record unblemished in conference play with a 25-20, 25-10, 27-25 victory.

Senior setter Natalie Lorenz provided 30 assists and also had some key serving runs for the Black Tornado (28-5, 10-0 SWC). Lorenz served four straight points in the opener to give North a 16-10 lead. With the Black Tornado leading 8-3 in Game 2, Lorenz served nine consecutive points.

North Medford had balanced front-line play. Senior outside Whitney Hodnett registered a team-high nine kills, Erica Schultz added six and Jaci Abeloe and Megan Bartling each chipped in five.

Schultz also had five blocks and four aces, while senior middle hitter Kyle Jolley had a team-best six blocks.

Defensively, Kellie Satterfield came up with 11 digs and Hillevi Johnson had nine.

The Black Tornado will host McKay in a 6A state playoff match Wednesday.

SHELDON 3, GRANTS PASS 0 — At Eugene, Allix Strahon had 10 kills and Lexi Harn added seven kills to lead ninth-ranked Sheldon to a 25-18, 25-20, 25-22 Southwest Conference win.

Hannah Thompson paced the Irish (7-3 SWC) defensively with 18 digs.

Sheldon, the second-place team from the SWC, will host the No. 3 team from the Portland Interscholastic League on Wednesday in a state-playoff match.

Grants Pass finishes the season at 1-9 in the SWC.

Southern Sky Conference

ASHLAND 3, KLAMATH UNION 0 — At Klamath Union, outside hitters Asia Kane and Sammi Gilbert posted double-doubles as No. 3 Ashland completed league play undefeated.

The junior Kane had 13 kills and a team-high 17 digs, while Gilbert, a senior, added 10 kills and 10 digs.

Senior setter Heidi Siebenlist had an impressive 38 assists in the three-game match.

Junior defensive specialist Kiley Pinder came up with 14 digs and had two aces for the Grizzlies.

Ashland (20-8, 8-0 SSC) will host a 5A state playoff game Nov. 3.

CRATER 3, MAZAMA 1 — At Central Point, the 22-25, 25-18, 25-16, 26-24 victory moved Crater into a second-place tie with Eagle Point in the final conference standings.

The Comets and Eagle Point will have a playoff 7 p.m. Monday to determine the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the 5A state playoffs. The site will be determined by a coin toss today.

The Comets (4-7, 4-4 SSC) were led on the frontline by senior middle hitter Alana Harding with seven kills and six blocks. Sophomore setter Kayla Hopkinson had 24 assists and Breanne Reavis registered three aces. Additionally, Crater libero Reanne Allen did a good job on serve receive.

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