Aurora — Coming into the tournament, I said that Siuslaw was the most under seeded team in the 4A tournament. They faced a rough conference slate in the loaded Sky Em League, and this seed unfortunately spoils whatever they could’ve pulled off this season. However, they put it on display Friday in Aurora against the North Marion Huskies. While the set scores were close at first, the better team was clearly Siuslaw and it showed as the game moved along.
The opening set started incredible for Siuslaw, jumping out to a decent lead before North Marion got on the board. The Huskies utilized Jaydan Sahlin from the get go, getting the ambidextrous middle some touches and points followed suitably. Her play was a huge key in the opening set, as she served as the fire for the Huskies and picked them up out of a slump. Siuslaw was utilizing a wide cast of characters to get them points in the opening set, going to everyone from Mylee Blake to Desiree Tupua to Alizabeth Norton. After making a comeback late in the opening set, Siuslaw had two opportunities to take the opening set in overtime and went on to win it 27-25, taking a critical, battle test first set of the match.
In the second set, it was a similar strong start for Siuslaw, with North Marion once again crawling themselves back into it. The Vikings started to show their interchangeable gameplay, showing the Huskies a number of different looks from a wide range of players. Their entire team played a heavy role in closing out the second set 25-20, setting up for a three set sweep in the final frame. Siuslaw got off to their slowest start in the third set, but quickly pulled it together and hit the gas pedal, throttling past a tired North Marion team that struggled to get going. In their best set of the evening, Siuslaw swept North Marion 27-25, 25-20, 25-14 and advance to the state quarterfinals on Tuesday night against the winner of Marist-Sisters on Saturday.
Siuslaw demonstrated something that not many teams can say: They have a full, flexible, every player matters type of roster. There is not one player that dominates for Siuslaw, its an entire cast of characters that can switch in and out on the go, putting up just about any number of combinations to make a play. Their defense was great at making Sahlin a non-threat, then keeping the Huskies guessing on who would make the next play for the Vikings. Every girl on this team is fully capable of challenging the best in the state, and their efforts make them a dark horse to disrupt the 4A landscape this season. A Siuslaw-Sisters pairing on Tuesday is looking more and more like an upset cake.