Welcome to the Week 4 volleyball headliners from another crazy weekend of tournament and league action. South Albany hosted the State Preview with Jesuit and other powers, Oregon City and Westview hosted tournaments, and other action that fell in the cracks of our attention on Saturday. Here are the headliners from Week 4 weekend action…..
Philomath…..Bullies The Bully?
I’m as surprised as every fan in that gym was on Saturday, watching a drama movie unfold in slow motion as 4A Philomath took a stunning 20-15 advantage over the 6A Jesuit dynasty. The Crusaders would buckle down after that, taking the first set 25-23 and sweeping Philomath 25-20 to advance in the tournament. However, looking at the final set results alone, shows the Warriors performance to be the second best against Jesuit this season behind Crescent Valley’s 2-1 loss to them at Southridge in August. They’re the only team to take the Crusaders to 25-20 or later in two sets all season, with the exception of CV.
Entering Saturday, the program has had a wonky season with one huge win over #4 Cascade after trailing 0-2 in the match, but heavy losses to Crook County, Sweet Home, Burns, and Sisters. They performed well in pool play with wins over Sunset and Corvallis, while getting rocked by Bend to finish 2-1 and into the championship bracket. They have opportunity to continue this momentum with a huge game at Cascade on Thursday, which will be a great measuring stick for both teams and their ability to be consistent.
Stanfield Takes Control Of The Blue Mountain Conference
Its been three weeks since their program changing win over Union, and the Stanfield Tigers are hotter than flaming hot Cheetos. The Tigers entered a three game winning streak prior to their date with #7 Grant Union and #9 Weston-McEwen on Saturday in their Blue Mountain Conference tri-meet. Stanfield took care of business, taking the Prospectors in four sets and the Tigerscots in a sweep, giving them sole control of the conference over Grant Union by a full game. They sit at 12-2 overall this season, and have pretty good odds of going undefeated to close out the season if they keep the momentum up. Their second tri-meet at Grant Union on October 9th will be one to circle on the calendar.
West Albany Solidifies 5A’s Top Spot
We finally got the match we’ve been looking forward to in 5A this season….#1 West Albany vs #3 La Salle Prep. They met in the semifinals of the South Albany State Preview on Saturday after the Falcons upset 6A #3 and previously undefeated Bend in the quarterfinals with a three set thriller. In the semifinals, it was the de facto match to determine 5A’s top spot after Wilsonville was upset by Mountainside in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs would win the battle, advancing to play the Jesuit dynasty in the championship. West Albany pushed Jesuit to 26 points in the first set, while eventually being finished off 25-15 in the final set, but an impressive showing by the Bulldogs. This more or less secures their top dog status in 5A, as no one else has the resume or argument to be higher ranked than them.
Dallas And La Pine Show Strong
With injuries drilling the Dallas Dragons, it was a rough week with #1 West Albany and #2 Crescent Valley. In Oregon City on Saturday, Dallas showed strength and took themselves all the way to the tournament championship against 6A #5 Oregon City. The Dragons knocked off conference rival Silverton and 6A Tualatin in bracket play, but it would come down to a tough 18-25, 21-25 loss to the Pioneers in the championship. Its an encouraging weekend for a team that desperately needed one, and with two winnable games with Lebanon and North Salem this week, its opportunity to grab momentum before going to a hostile West Albany environment on October 4th.
A quiet winner from down in Medford on Saturday belongs to the La Pine Hawks, who faced 3A #10 St. Mary’s Medford Crusaders and 4A #6 Henley Hornets, entering as the underdog in this tri-meet action. The Hawks made a statement, upsetting the Hornets and Crusaders in 3-2 and 3-0 fashion, putting themselves on the map in the 3A landscape and perhaps enough to thrust themselves into the Top 10 this week. The largest takeaway is that La Pine is going to round out a very tough Mountain Valley Conference, which now have five legitimate playoff teams this season and might send all of them if they beat up on one another enough this season.