Volleyball clubs eye Dec. 5 for tryouts

Across state, programs have the date set aside for expanded practice
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The ability to practice is going to be something of a challenge into the near future for all youth sports teams, but directing players to their correct voleyball team at least has a date set for it - Dec. 5, according to most clubs within the Columbia Empire Volleyball Association.

Tryouts will be held across the state for girls 15 and older, 14 and younger and also boys teams.

The season's Power League schedule is tentatively set to begin for 18s and 16s squads on Jan. 3 and run for seven weeks. A second half of the annual season would begin in late May after the high school season has played out from late February to early May.


Jesuit ends with perfection

Crusaders dominate the state tournament for another title
Nov. 7, 2015

HILLSBORO - They were almost perfect - the Jesuit Crusaders.

Powered by 6-foot-3 middle blocker Jasmine Gross, Jesuit won the OSAA Class 6A Volleyball tournament Saturday night at Liberty High School, beating crosstown rival Central Catholic 22-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-22 to finish the season 32-0.

The unbeaten record was nearly perfect, too, as the team lost just two games all season, including the first game of the final to the Rams.

Gross and outside hitter Nicole Peterson were named to the all-tournament first team.

In other finals, Summit of Bend beat LaSalle of Milwaukie in three games for the 5A title at Liberty High as well.

In Forest Grove, top-seeded Banks beat Sisters in three games for the 4A title, while Vale outlasted Creswell in five games for the 3A title, earning the win 15-11 in the fifth game.

And at Redmond's Ridgeview High, top-seeded Burns swept through Culver in three games for the 2A title, and Country Christian beat Hosanna Christian in three games for the 1A title.



Volleyball season roars to a close

Regional winners play out in four tournaments Sunday
May 3, 2015 / Staff Report

Eugene-based Webfoot Juniors survived a final-set tiebreaker with Salem’s North Pacific Juniors to win the 18U bracket at the Columbia Empire Volleyball Association Regional Tournament Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center.

The bracket was one of four played out during the two-day event, which featured more than 350 teams from Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Webfoot dropped a three-game match to NPJ, including 15-13 in the third game, that set up the one-game final. NPJ played in seven official matches Sunday, three of which went to three games. Webfoot played in just five.

At the 16U bracket, Beaverton-based Athena Volleyball Academy beat the Webfoot Juniors in the final, 25-11, 25-21, finishing the tournament unbeaten in seven matches. The champions gave up as many as 20 points in a game in only three of 14 games.

The fourth-seeded Rose City Volleyball Club rallied through the consolation bracket and beat NPJ in the 14U bracket, winning 25-17 in the one-game final.

The Portland Volleyball Club took the 12U bracket with a 25-22, 25-23 win over Vancouver, Wash.-based Excel NW. PVC finished 12-1 in games during the two days.

Volleyball season roars to regionals

The Oregon Convention Center plays host to the annual tournament
April 28, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The seemingly never-ending prep volleyball season comes to a close this weekend - for most teams, with the annual CEVA Regionals, set to be played out Saturday and Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center.

More than 350 teams are scheduled to compete in four age-groups ranging from 18-and-under to 12-and-under, with seeding into 16-team brackets having taken place during a league season that began in January.

Most of the girls involved have played in a tournament nearly every weekend the past two months.

Pool-play matches begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, and begin concluding with championship matches at Sunday afternoon. The top teams in the 18U bracket are scheduled to play their title match at 1 p.m.

The Convention Center will house 47 courts during the weekend.

The Webfoot Gold team from Eugene is the top-seeded team in the 18U bracket, with the Salem-based North Pacific Juniors as the second seed.

At 16U, the Webfoot club again secured the top seed, with the Adidas NW club, based in Gresham, as the second seed.

At 14U, the Oregon Juniors, based in Beaverton, are seeded first, with Athena, also based in Beaverton, as second.

And at 12U, Oregon Juniors enters as the top seed, with Rose City, which regularly feeds players into Central Catholic High School, as second.


St. Helens, Country Christian arrive

PLAYOFF RECAP: Two new schools win state volleyball titles
Nov. 8, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

A pair of newcomers joined the long list of state volleyball champions during the six tournament finals. St. Helens and Country Christian won their first championships, with both winning in their first trip to the final.


Jesuit returned to the state's top spot after losing in the semifinals last year, scoring a victory over rival Central Catholic to finish the season unbeaten at 31-0. The Rams placed second for the second straight year.


St. Helens scored an upset for the third straight day and won the school's first state volleyball title, edging LaSalle of Milwaukie in four games. The Lions, who had never reached a final, entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed, but beat No. 4 Summit, No. 1 Lebanon and then the third-seeded Falcons behind standout efforts from junior Logan Kalauli, and seniors Taylor Albertson and Rianne Tupper.


Sisters won its third title with a blowout of Banks in the final at Lane Community College. Sisters won each of its three tournament matches 3-0.


Santiam Christian won its third consecutive title, and seventh overall with a thrilling win over top-seeded Creswell. The final three games finished at two-point wins, with the fifth game going 18-16. Creswell was seeking its first title.


Burns won its sixth title overall, but first at the 2A level after having won at 3A three years prior. The Hilanders won their three matches 3-0 each.


Country Christian, of Molalla, entered as the top seed and lost just one game during the tournament.



Jesuit reigns supreme

Top-ranked Crusaders overwhelm Central Catholic to go unbeaten
Nov. 8, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

HILLSBORO - Even an injury to standout outside hitter Nicole Peterson couldn't keep the Jesuit Crusaders from rolling through the 2014 volleyball season unbeaten.

Peterson, who eventually wound up as an all-tournament first-team pick, suffered what amounted to a severe cramp in the second game with her team trailing in games 1-0. But, the Crusaders rallied their talents, won that game and then the following two to beat Central Catholic for the OSAA Class 6A volleyball state title.

Ariana Wiltjer led Jesuit with 13 kills, while Peterson finished with 11 kills and 10 digs and Symone Tran had 37 assists to close out the team's 31-0 season.

The title is the second in three years and fourth overall under coach Teresa Zimmerlee.

"These girls worked so hard during the year, they really earned this," Zimmerlee said.

Central Catholic lost in the final for the second-straight year. Whitney Turner had 11 kills and Kealia Rosa had 31 assists to lead the Rams.


Lions roar to volleyball championship

The No. 5 seeds cap a glorious weekend with the school's first title
Nov. 8, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

HILLSBOBO - The court at Liberty High School is getting accustomed to improbable victories.

St. Helens scored an upset for the third straight day and won the school's first state volleyball title, edging LaSalle of Milwaukie in four games Saturday night.

The Lions, who had never reached a final, entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed, but beat No. 4 Summit, No. 1 Lebanon and then the third-seeded Falcons behind standout efforts from junior Logan Kalauli, and seniors Taylor Albertson and Rianne Tupper.

"This is just unbelievable, just insanity," Albertson said after being overwhelmed by schoolmates in the victory celebration.

The Lions title run jumped into action while trailing Summit 2-1 in the quarterfinals. They rallied and won the fifth game 15-13.

"I think this was really good for our community," coach Tom Ray said. "Everyone put a lot of effort into this team, and it's a great win."

LaSalle also was attempting to win its first title.


Lakeridge wins first title in historic fashion

The Pacers beat No. 1 Central Catholic for Class 6A title
Nov. 9, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

HILLSORO - In one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, the Lakeidge Pacers beat Central Catholic in four games to win the school's first state volleyball title.

Lakeridge won a tense battle in the first game, survived Central Catholic's answer in the second and rolled through the final two games to win 31-29, 23-25, 25-12, 25-22, before a raucous crowd at Liberty High School.

The Pacers got 24 kills from Saskia McNairy, 12 more from Maddie Marshall and won the battle of hitting errors 25-36.

"We knew everyone was looking at us as a big underdog, so we just played like we had nothing to lose," Lakeridge coach Wendy Stammer said "This is a huge win for our program, for our girls. They've worked so hard for this, it's such a great thing for them."

Central Catholic got 13 kills from Ramey Gardner and 10 more from Whitney Turner. The Rams were top top seed in the tournament the past two years, but won just third place last year and second place this year, having won the title from 2009-11.

Lakeridge wasn't a significant underdog in terms of play from this year - earning the No. 2 seed in the 32-team playoff bracket. In terms of seeding, they were supposed to reach the championship match.

In terms of program history, though, they essentially had none - having not reached a final, and not even played into one of the final eight spots that make up the  double-elimination tournament last year. One of the team's first goals was just reaching the tournament this season.

Central Catholic was aiming for the program's six title in its 14th appearance in the finals under coach Rick Lorenz, who had won three titles before moving to the school.

And, halfway through the first game, that history showed itself as the Rams, who easily beat the Pacers in two games during a tournament earlier this year, roared to a 17-10 lead.

The Pacers, who had a 5-2 edge in seniors on their roster, rallied to 18-16 and the game stayed closed from there. Central served for the game at 24-22, but a service error gave the ball back to Lakeridge and they scored two straight for a 25-24 edge and served for the game. The Rams actually celebrated having won the game, though, 25-23 when Marshall hit an attack long, but the head referee ruled the ball had been tipped at the net and scored the point for Lakeridge to tie the game. The same celebration happened when the Rams thought they had won at 28-26, but the point went to Lakeridge and tied the score at 27-all.

Finally, junior Kacie Van Stiphout served an ace to end the battle and give the Pacers the game, igniting their boistrous crowd that spelled out a giant 'L' in the stands behind them.

After an equally thrilling second game went to the Rams, 25-23, the top-seeds began a two-game slide into hitting errors and only a late, five-point run made the fourth-game score close.


West Albany serves notice with repeat

The Bulldogs beat Willamette a year before moving up to Class 6A
Nov. 9, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

HILLSBORO - West Albany's dream of winning its first state title from a year ago turned into the start of a streak with a defense of its Class 5A title Saturday night.

The top-seeded Bulldogs beat upstart Willamette, 25-21, 25-11, 25-15, at Liberty High School behind a dominating performance from its seniors and junior hitter Payton Rund.

Rund pounded out 16 kills with just one error, and senior setter Haley Wells had 31 assists for West Albany, which gave up 21 or more points in just two games of its four-match playoff run. Senior Alyvia Sams added 10 kills and senior Marandah had six kills and no errors.

Willamette got 16 kills from senior Alycia Wodke, who had 50 of her team's 86 total attacks during the match. The sixth-seeded Wolverines, who upset No. 2 seed Churchill in the semifinals Friday night, struggled with errors in the match, losing that stat to the Bulldogs 17-5.

West Albany will take its two-year title run into Class 6A when the OSAA reclassification takes affect in September. With Rund as a team leader, the Bulldogs will be among the state contenders - the team having played evenly with Class 6A No. 1 seeded Central Catholic during the season.



Central Catholic, Lakeridge reach final

It's the Rams and Pacers after each beats a finalist from last year
Nov. 8, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

HILLSBORO - The expected Battle Royale between Central Catholic and Jesuit materialized at the state volleyball championships Friday night, but the Rams didn't win state by scoring a dramatic win over the Crusaders. Instead, they need to win one more match to claim their fourth Class 6A state title in five years.

Awaiting Central is Lakeridge, which played its way into a final for the first time, only a year after not even reaching the tournament.

Central Catholic beat Jesuit 23-25, 25-13, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13, while Lakeridge beat last year's runner-up Roseburg, 25-21, 24-26, 25-11, 25-22, asserting its position as the No. 2 seed in the 32-team playoff bracket in the process.

"This is such a thrill for all of us," Lakeridge coach Wendy Stammer said. "We know we're going to be the underdog, and we're going to play like we have nothing to lose."

The teams are set to meet at 8:30 p.m. at Liberty High School, with the match following the Class 5A final.

Central Catholic and Lakeridge couldn't be farther apart in terms of program history. The Rams have won five titles under coach Rick Lorenz, and played in eight other finals. Lorenz won three other titles at St. Mary's before moving to Central Catholic. Lakeridge has never played for a title, and lost in the Sweet 16 last year in three games to Gresham, making just reaching the eight-team tournament an initial goal of the season for the Pacers.

The top-ranked Rams lost to Roseburg in the semifinals last year, making last season a huge disappointment.



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