West Albany Shows Muscle, Sisters Beats Valley Catholic, Sprague’s Turnaround, Mazama And Bend Take Medford

Spectators getting banned in Portland and Lake Oswego, COVID forcing teams from tri-meets to tournaments at the last minute or forcing them out all together, and tourneys from Powder Valley to Sisters to Medford. Welcome to the fourth week of volleyball season and it has much to discuss from across the state, which will be better revealed on Sunday in my weekly power rankings. With that, here are some of the headliners from a Saturday of jam packed action…..

West Albany Plays With The Big Dogs

There were no questions surrounding West Albany and their legitimacy in the 5A Title Race, and after Saturday, there still aren’t any as the Bulldogs played with the 6A powers up at Central Catholic. They went 4-1 on the day in Portland, including pulling an upset of 6A power West Linn 2-1, and wins over Sunset, Nelson, and Summit, with a lone loss to Sheldon. Its a great showing for the Bulldogs, who face a fierce pursuit in their own conference from Crescent Valley, and all the experience they garner from this tournament will help them in their own 5A Championship pursuit this fall. Watch out for the Bulldogs, they’re no slouch and fully capable of winning a state title.

Sisters Beats Valley Catholic In A 4A State Championship Preview

It was inevitable that eventually these two favorites would meet and it would be a great battle, with Saturday’s Sisters Tournament Championship giving us a sneak preview of what to expect in November. For the Outlaws, they got through Cottage Grove and Burns in straight sets to reach the championship, while Valley Catholic swept Stayton and had to come back to beat Cascade. In the title game, Sisters fought hard to take the first set 25-19, while having an easier second set win with a 25-14 result and sweeping the Valiants. For Sisters, it was a huge moment of confidence for a team that has sat in the Valiant shadow so far this season, while Valley Catholic gave their all while fighting injuries that left them shorthanded. Two great programs that will likely meet in the state title game, and hopefully they’ll both be full strength for it!

Sprague Shows At Central Catholic

A team that has struggled in the early going, Saturday presented some encouraging progress for the Sprague Olympians, who currently sit at 5-5 on the 2021 season thus far. With a couple of dubs over Nelson and Clackamas, Sprague made their largest impression of the day with a win over Sheldon, who have been a bubble Top 10 team this season in 6A. They fell to Central Catholic in the semifinals, but recovered to beat Sunset to take third at the Central Catholic Tournament. It wasn’t a tournament win, but it was experience and confidence gained for a youthful squad looking for their place in the 6A landscape.

Mazama and Bend Take Medford Tourney

The Rogue Valley Classic took place in Medford on Saturday, featuring teams ranging from Crook County, Bend, Mazama, McNary, and others. In the Gold Bracket, the Bend Lava Bears took the tourney with clean sweep of Crook County, South Medford, and MVC Rival McNary. Bend was the best team in Medford on Saturday, not having too much trouble in the bracket aside from a stiff challenge by South Medford in the gold bracket semifinals. As for the silver bracket, Mazama took care of business by taking out Grants Pass and Phoenix to kick off the bracket, while facing a three set finale against Shasta (CA) to win the silver bracket. The Vikings remain a 4A underdog at 6-0 this season, slowly lurking behind the shadows of Sisters and Valley Catholic.

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