ASHLAND — Sam Owirka had a big game at the net and defensively to help South Medford rally for a 22-25, 25-17, 17-25, 25-23, 15-13 victory over Ashland in nonconference volleyball at Mountain Avenue Gym Thursday.
The Panthers (3-3, 2-2 SOH) led most of the decisive fifth game. Miranda Marincus registered three straight kills to give South a 14-12 lead. An Ashland hitting mistake ended the match.
"We played with heart tonight," South Medford coach Sarah Costa said.
Owirka, a senior outside hitter, registered a team-high 18 kills and 28 digs to go with two aces, while Marincus added 12 kills, 20 digs and three aces.
The Panthers also received nine kills each from middle Bree Polk and Sam Martin. Setter Chandler Criswell distributed 50 assists and libero Emily Cutting had 26 digs.
"Individually, we have the skills and depth," said Costa. "We just have to find the right combination and we did that tonight."
For Ashland (2-3), middle Joy Harpham and Piper Cantrell, an outside hitter and libero, each had nine kills. Cantrell added 34 digs and three aces. Cassandra Hall provided 36 assists and 11 digs for the Grizzlies.
"South was persistent," said Ashland coach Robin Akpan. "We're trying to learn how to finish a match."
EAGLE POINT 3, NORTH MEDFORD 2 — At Eagle Point, despite multiple players battling illness, Eagle Point gritted out a seesaw contest with North Medford and won 25-19, 14-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-13.
The Eagles' Christine McCready ended the back-and-fourth fifth game with a kill on the right side. The senior middle blocker finished with 48 digs, 12 blocks and 10 kills.
Lesley Nielson amassed 52 digs, Carolina Regalado 33 assists, Whitney Barber 13 kills and Amanda Kady chalked up 11 blocks for the Eagles (7-2).
The Black Tornado (4-2) received 14 kills and 21 digs from Mariah Williams and nine kills from Caitlin Barrie.
North sophomores Katy Carter and Elle Bixler excelled, with Carter recording 23 digs, six kills and six aces and Bixler contributing six blocks and five kills.
ROSEBURG 3, GRANTS PASS 0 — At Roseburg, Grants Pass had a hard time offensively challenging Roseburg, which earned a 25-16, 25-19, 25-14 victory.
The Cavers dropped to 3-6 overall and 1-2 in the Southwest Conference.
Roseburg's Anna Bruns had seven kills and Vanessa Bentley pitched in 22 assists.
NORTH VALLEY 3, PHOENIX 1 — At Merlin, Phoenix couldn't hang with North Valley long before the Knights took over for a 25-19, 18-25, 25-20, 25-16 victory.
Senior outside hitter Mia Alanez had 10 kills and freshman Bailee Tally added nine for the Pirates (2-3, 0-1 Skyline Conference).
Katie Strong, Phoenix's senior libero, collected 23 digs.
Stacy Kozaczuk amassed 17 kills and Karley Hook pitched in 13 more for the Knights (3-2, 1-0 Skyline), who were too much for Phoenix at the net.
Lacey Lacosse tallied 24 service points and 17 assists for the Knights. Kenzi Schmoll finished with 24 digs and Hannah Zyirek chipped in with 22 assists.
HIDDEN VALLEY 3, MAZAMA 0 — At Klamath Falls, Hidden Valley kept Mazama off balance all night in a 25-12, 25-21, 25-10 thumping of the host Vikings.
Skylar Fate paced the Mustangs (5-1, 1-0 Skyline Conference) with 12 blocks and Bailey Bars notched 10 kills and six blocks.
The Mustangs' Lin Vinzon served seven aces and added 20 digs.
ST. MARY'S 3, ROGUE RIVER 0 — St. Mary's team chemistry helped it roll past Rogue River, 25-17, 25-15, 25-14, in the SCH opener at St. Mary's.
Crusaders senior middle hitter Alexi Provost-Shean connected on 12 of 18 kills and added six blocks.
Nina Console had 24 assists for the Crusaders (3-2, 1-0 SCL), who received 18 digs from Giovanna Dentoni.
St. Mary's also excelled at the service line, thanks to Hayley Tyus and Maddie Gregg.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 3, BONANZA 1 — Bonanza's scrappy defense gave Cascade Christian fits briefly before the Challengers were able to take over and earn a 25-14, 24-26, 25-18, 25-17 triumph at Cascade Christian High.
The Challengers' junior outside hitting combo of Elise Gardner and Mackenzie Kelton combined for 21 kills — Gardner with 12 and Kelton 9.
Challengers setter Haley Casebier did well ochestrating the offense with 28 assists, while adding five kills and 19 digs.
Senior middle hitter Meghan Higday posted eight kills and four blocks for the Challengers (5-1).
LOST RIVER 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0 — At Cave Junction, Illinois Valley couldn't overcome poor communication and net play in a 25-19, 25-15, 25-11 nonconference loss.
Sophomore setter Abby Miller excelled for the Cougars (1-4) with good passing and court coverage.