Marcola — The annual Mustang Classic took place on Saturday at Mohawk High School in Marcola, featuring a unique bracket setup that play best-of-three sets in the first two matches, with a regulation best-of-five makeup for the place matches. Myrtle Point defeated Yoncalla and fell to Oakridge, while the host Mustangs beat Central Christian and fell to South Wasco County, setting up the pair for a third-place match on Saturday.
It was the Bobcats who set the tone in the opening set, firing off a quick 5-0 run to open the match. Mohawk fought back to close the gap to 6-4, but Myrtle Point slowly grew apart to a five point advantage at the 12-7 mark, hitting the gas pedal to finish the set on a 13-3 run and win it 25-10 over Mohawk. The Mustangs would strike back in the second set, taking their own 5-0 lead to open up things. Mohawk held up a six point lead at the 13-7 mark of the set, but Myrtle Point chipped away their advantage down to 17-14 and eventually 20-18. Leading 23-21, Mohawk sealed the deal with a thunderous kill from Alexis Robinson to take the second set 25-22 over the Bobcats, tying the game up at one set apiece.
Just like they had to start the game, Myrtle Point seized an early 4-1 lead in the third set, but Mohawk battled to bring it within 8-6. The Bobcats pulled ahead with a 6-1 run that make it 14-7, while Mohawk refused to go away as they closed back in within 17-14. Leading 22-19 late, Myrtle Point finished off the third set on a 3-0 run to take a 2-1 match lead over Mohawk. The fourth set was a momentum rider for Myrtle Point, as they blew open a 16-6 advantage over the Mustangs. While trailing 21-11, Mohawk fought their hardest to avoid elimination, bringing it within 23-17 but ultimately falling in four sets to Myrtle Point (25-10, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19), who took home third place at the Mustang Classic.
Myrtle Point: Their spice of life on offense with their different attack looks really benefit them against Mohawk, as Grace Bradford was able to get help from Kenzie Robinson and Lexi McWilliam on the attack. The Bobcats looked decent on defense, as it was more than enough to keep pace with the Mohawk attack, and ultimately seal the victory. I liked their chemistry as a whole, but communication is definitely a note to improve upon, as is finishing games without letting an opponent back in it.
Mohawk: I like the potential of this team, but they must get over their Achillies heel of unforced errors and serving (receiving and sending it), they were major factors in their loss to the Bobcats. Their defensive inconsistency in patrolling the floor was also a liability, as it opened the door for Myrtle Point to locate wherever they wished. On the upside, I love their net play with Alexis Robinson, Violet Eisele, and Lucy Barrowcliff, all of whom are back next season for the Mustangs. Also, shoutout to the setter Emma Romane on a great game locating it to her teammates.