Adair Village — A few hours after winning their top four matchup against #4 Salem Academy, #1 Santiam Christian squared off with #10 Cascade Christian with the tournament championship up for grabs. Cascade Christian knocked off Horizon Christian in the 1 PM matchup 25-22, 23-25, 25-4, 25-21.
Santiam Christian Takes The First Two Sets After Strong Cascade Christian Starts
Cascade Christian opened with a 3-2 lead, but after some back and forth action, Santiam Christian took the lead 10-8 and the Challengers would fight it back into an 11-10 game. Now in a 16-14 game, Santiam Christian extended their lead to 21-17, and eventually closed it out 25-20 to take the first set.
The Challengers broke free with a 5-0 run to open the second set, but the Eagles flew in and knotted the game at 6 with a 6-1 run. With some jabs, the teams were deadlocked before the Challengers took a 14-12 lead midway through the set. After they made it 18-13, the Eagles closed in and took the lead after a 7-1 run that made it 20-19. The Eagles would hang on the rest of the way, taking a 2-0 match lead with a 25-23 set win.
Cascade Christian Takes The Third Set, But The Eagles Fly Away With The Win
Just like the first two sets, Cascade Christian took the early advantage, this time 4-2 and 6-3. However, unlike the latter, the Challengers went virtually unchallenged throughout the entire set, as they slowly built leads of 11-6, 16-10, 21-12, and 22-15 en route to a swift 25-18 set victory that cut the match deficit to 2-1.
Coming off a swift loss in the last set, the Eagles came out hot in the fourth set, seizing their first early advantage 5-2. Leading 9-5, a run of 4-1 that made it 15-6, and they eventually held advantages of 19-11 and 21-13 as the Challengers ran out of gas and the Eagles flew away with the 25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 25-16 match victory to win the tournament championship.
Interviews With Head Coaches Kelli Fitzpatrick and Rob Kleker
With #1 Santiam Christian affirming themselves as the top team on Saturday, Head Coach Kelli Fitzpatrick and Cascade Christian’s Rob Kleker talked about the day.
Coach Fitzpatrick on her team being rattled against Salem Academy and Cascade Christian, “We had some stuff that rattled our girls. We had two injuries to two starters, one at the beginning and one in the championship, and thats a hard thing to come back from. It shows the mental toughness of my girls, their ability to overcome it and I’m proud of them.”
Coach Kleker on reducing inconsistency, “Making it back to state requires reducing inconsistency. We’ve got to learn to play at a high level all the time, we tend to ride that wave with comes and gos. We’ve got to learn to be consistent and to close out sets, we’ll have a five or six point lead late in sets and let opponents crawl back into it, so we’ve definitely got to work on that.”
Coach Fitzpatrick on keys to winning another state championship, “The key is going to be our passing. We’ve got the two best hitters in the state, but if were not making good first contacts, we aren’t going to be able to let out the incredible offense we get from the two of them. If we have to keep using our second string blockers, we’ll have to keep working on their blocks as well.”
Coach Kleker on what Saturday revealed about his team, “We’ve been talking about overcoming some inconsistency in our play, and the way we came out and played shows they are gaining a little more confidence about who we are, they are, and what they can do on the floor. We want to work on taking the positives and replicating those throughout the rest of the year.”