The Glenwood/Klickitat High Eagles and the Ione/Arlington High Cardinals both won Big Sky League District quarterfinal playoff road games Wednesday to advance to Saturday’s semifinals at Echo High School.
The Big Sky East Division No. 3 seed Cardinals (6-4 league, 10-8 overall) won 3-2 over the No. 2 Big Sky West Division No. 2 seed Dufur High Rangers (2-2 league, 8-8 overall) at Dufur High School. The Rangers, guided by third-year Coach Teresa Morris, built a 2-0 set lead after winning 25-12 and 25-23. The Cardinals came back and won three straight sets (25-21, 25-21, 15-13) to get the victory and advance to semifinals.
“This was a heartbreaking loss for sure, especially since we felt pretty confident going into the game,” said Morris. “We also knew that since we beat them earlier in the season (3-0 win, Sept. 7), they would want to come in here and beat us. We knew we would have to work hard, but they (Cardinals) played hard, and they played more aggressively. We just made some mistakes in crucial parts of the game and that’s what happened.
“We kept fighting and we didn’t give up, but the girls are super disappointed. The season has to come to an end at some point, but this was just a little earlier than what we had planned.”
The contest marked the final game of the Dufur High School volleyball careers for Ranger seniors Abby Beal, Emily Crawford, Jadyn Fargher, Madi Malcolm and Ashley Bailey.
Ione/Arlington will play the No. 7 ranked Big Sky East Division No. 1 seed, Echo High Cougars (6-0 league, 10-8 overall) in Saturday’s 10 a.m. semis. Glenwood/Klickitat will meet the No. 16 ranked Big Sky West Division No. 1 seed, South Wasco High Redsides (6-0 league, 16-6 overall) at noon. The semifinal winners advance to an OSAA Class 1A State Tournament first round game Oct. 27.
The losers of Saturday’s 10 a.m. semis play in a 2 p.m. contest for the third Big Sky League state playoff spot and the loser of that contest will be eliminated from the playoffs.
The Big Sky West Division No. 3 seed Eagles won 3-2 over the Big Sky East Division Huskies (6-6 league, 10-10 overall) at Sherman High in Moro. The Eagles, guided by Coach Jaecee Hoctor, won 13-25, 25-17, 25-21, 20-25, 15-11.
“It was intense, that’s for sure,” said Hoctor, who led the Eagles to the district playoffs in their first-ever season in OSAA Class 1A volleyball. “Everyone did a good job; they all battled and kept pushing and working hard for every point. They kept their intensity throughout the entire match. I’m really proud of the team; this is a good group of girls and they all get along well, which really makes it fun.”
The Eagles were playing for the first time since Oct. 7, as some players had been in quarantine with COVID health and safety protocols. The Eagles were led by senior middle blocker Laney Tuthill (16 kills, ace, two blocks), junior setter Alise Gimlin (eight kills, ace, nine assists), senior setter Julie Fink (five aces, 15 assists) and junior outside hitter Chloe Wenz (five aces, two kills).
The Huskies, guided by Coach Karissa Gorham, concluded the regular season Oct. 18 with a 3-2 win over the Condon High Blue Devils and had momentum after winning four of their past five games, but it was the Eagles who advanced to Saturday’s semis. It marked the final game of the Sherman High volleyball career for seniors Cali Johnson and Allie Marker.
“I was really proud of the girls and how much effort they put in, but we had a couple of little lulls and Klickitat really came out firing in Game 2 and then we just lost our momentum from that point out,” said Gorham. “We had a lot of good moments though and I was really proud of the girls, and it was a good conclusion to our season.”