Volleyball: big winners this past weekend

Katie Kennedy (above, 9), celebrates with her team after getting the first kill of the game in last week’s matchup against Pendleton.

Photo by RJ Chavez
Katie Kennedy (above, 9), celebrates with her team after getting the first kill of the game in last week’s matchup against Pendleton.

Last week, the Eagles opened league play against undefeated Pendleton at home. Losing in three sets, the Eagles moved to 2-3 on the season heading into their tournament at Century over the weekend.

Twelve teams from around the state traveled to Century on Saturday for a one-day tournament, including Benson (0–6), Century (1–7), Corbett (1–5), Forest Grove (4–7), Liberty (4–4), Madison (3–6), Newberg (0–5), North Eugene (12–0), North Salem (1–9), Roosevelt (3–4), Woodburn (2–5) and Hood River (4–4).

Schools were divided into three pools of four teams, with the top eight from the three pools seeded into a gold (playoff) bracket.

HRV opened Saturday morning with a match against Madison. In a two-game series, the Eagles swept Madison and would play Woodburn in their next matchup.

Sweeping Woodburn as well, HRV would play Liberty in their last game of pool play before the gold bracket was made.

Liberty would go on to beat the Eagles in two sets, which Head Coach Scott Walker said “weren’t close. We had trouble passing and serving against Liberty.” It’s a continuing concern for this team heading into October.

This loss put the Eagles at 4-2 heading into the gold bracket.

HRV was awarded the fifth seed after the morning games and would get a rematch against Liberty in the opening round of gold play, as they were the fourth seed.

The Eagles would avenge their pool play loss and beat Liberty in straight sets, 26–24 and 25–21. Walker said that the difference in this game compared to their first matchup was that the Eagles “passed better and served the ball well.”

Shae Duffy and Katie Kennedy led the Eagles on the attack against Liberty with seven kills each.

Emily Curtis led the game in assists with 14, and Kennedy James served the ball well, leading the team with three aces.

Curtis had five digs against Liberty and behind her was Duffy and Haylee Baker with four.

Kennedy and Carli Stroud each had 1.5 blocks to lead the team.

This win against Liberty would move the Eagles into the semi-finals, where they would play the school hosting the tournament.

Heading into the semi-finals matchup against the Eagles, Century was the number one seed with a 6–0 record in pool play.

However, the Eagles were able to handle the hometown favorites, beating the Jaguars by 25–16 in both sets.

Against Century, the leaders in attack were Kennedy and James with six and five kills, and Duffy with three.

Curtis tallied in 13 assists to lead the Eagles and added one kill to her stat line.

Duffy and James each had two aces to lead the Eagles, with James adding two digs and half a block.

Kennedy ended up with five digs and 2.5 blocks, leading the Eagles in both categories.

The win against Century would advance the Eagles to the championship game Saturday evening.

Handling the other side of the bracket fairly easily was North Eugene, who has yet to lose a game this season and is currently ranked number two in the OSAA 5A rankings.

HRV and North Eugene would face off in the championship game.

“Both sets were really close in the beginning,” Walker said. “But then North Eugene had some great servers that just got us out of system.”

North Eugene would end up winning the tournament after defeating the Eagles in straight sets, both by a score of 14–25.

Leaders in the championship game for the Eagles in attack were Duffy and Kennedy with four kills each.

With 11 assists, Curtis led the team; on serving, Duffy and Baker led the way with one ace apiece.

Leticia Martinez, Curtis, and Duffy had two digs each against North Eugene which led HRV.

After the tournament, Walker said that this team “still has a ton of work to do on our service receive passing and our serving. (However,) I was really proud of the way the girls have responded through adversity the last couple of weeks. It was a great feeling to see the girls perform the way I know they can perform and have them realize how good they can really be.”

After a strong showing in last weekend’s tournament, the Eagles have a chance to keep things rolling in the right direction as they have two games coming up this week.

The Eagles are back on the court Sept. 19 as they welcome the Hermiston Bulldogs (2-6) to Vannet Court for their second league home game of the season.

Then, HRV and The Dalles (2-4) play their first rivalry game of the season on Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in The Dalles.

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