Tornado secures sweep of Panthers

North Medford seniors Jaci Abeloe and Hillevi Johnson each came through with clutch kills at game point for South Medford in Game 3 and Abby Mann closed out the match with a pair of aces as the visiting Black Tornado survived a spirited challenge Tuesday night from the Panthers.

North Medford prevailed in the Southwest Conference match, 25-16, 25-18, 28-26.

North had already clinched a spot in the Class 6A playoffs, and will host Sheldon to cap the regular season on Thursday. The Black Tornado will open the playoffs on the road next Wednesday.

Abeloe led all hitters with 17 kills, while Andrea Egge added eight for North.

Danielle Boyd had 16 assists and Whitney Johnston had four blocks for the Tornado (5-4 SWC), which extended its winning streak to eight against its cross-town rival, including 3-0 this season.

"The rivalry always brings out the best in them," North Medford coach Ron Beick said. "There were four or five instances tonight where South made a run and Jaci made the definitive kill to swing momentum back to our side."

North won the first two games handily and led 6-1 in the third before South (0-9 SWC) rebounded to a 16-all tie. There were four ties in the final game and the Panthers held two game points to force a fourth game. An Abeloe kill tied it at 25 to deny South and, moments later, Johnson, a former defensive specialist who has moved to outside hitter, came through to even the count at 26-all before Mann closed out the victory.

"I was proud of the heart we put in, especially in the last game," first-year South Medford coach Sarah Costa said. "I could really see the improvement we've made."

Chelsee Kesler and Crystal Hooper led the Panthers with five kills each, while Natalie Kennedy had 11 digs and Amanda Gardner five aces. South Medford will close its season by hosting Grants Pass on Thursday.

ROSEBURG 3, GRANTS PASS 0 — At Grants Pass, Roseburg hit and served well all night to prevail 25-14, 25-19, 25-16.

Bre Thomas led the way with 14 kills and five service aces for the Indians, who as a team finished with a season-high .417 kill percentage. Roseburg (17-5, 7-2 SWC) also converted 94 percent of its serves with 12 aces.

Lynsey Johnson finished with 17 assists for the Indians, while Courtney Hutchins added 13. Nikki Basset led the defense with 10 digs.

SHELDON 3, SOUTH EUGENE 0 — At Sheldon, Sheldon's aggressive offense simply overwhelmed South Eugene, leading to the 25-19, 25-19, 25-14 victory.

The Irish were led by Gabbi Parker's 12 kills, while Tami Brown added 11 kills.

Southern Sky Conference

EAGLE POINT 3, CRATER 1 — At Central Point, Eagle Point kept its playoff hopes alive with a thrilling 26-24, 26-24, 24-26, 26-24 Southern Sky Conference win over Crater.

Eagle Point's Kristin Wyatt had 12 kills and served five straight points in Game 4, Erin Hedrick added 10 kills and Alyssa Brown had 30 assists as well as six straight points serving in Game 1 to help the Eagles come back from a 20-13 deficit

McKensie Re had 28 digs and Sam DeVaughn added seven kills for the Eagles (5-7, 3-4 SSC).

Taylor Mackey had 16 kills, 17 digs and three aces, Kelsey Grant had 21 digs and three key aces, Katie Higgins contributed 12 kills and five blocks and Dennae Grant had 22 digs for Crater (5-5, 4-3). The Comets can secure the conference's second seed with an upset win over Ashland on Thursday.

A Crater loss and Eagle Point win over last-place Klamath Union forces a one-game playoff between Crater and Eagle Point for the second and third seeds into the playoffs.

If KU beats Eagle Point, the Eagles will have a one-game playoff with Mazama for the third spot.

ASHLAND 3, MAZAMA 0 — At Ashland, seniors Asia Kane and Kiley Pinder came up big on senior night and helped Ashland clinch first place in the Southern Sky Conference with the 25-18, 25-13, 25-8 victory.

Kane lead a powerful Ashland attack with 10 kills, seven digs and six service aces, while Pinder finished with 22 assists and six digs. Junior Nikki Small added eight kills and three blocks for Ashland (19-11, 7-0 SSC).

The Grizzlies, who claimed their second straight SSC title, finish the regular season Thursday at Crater.

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