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Bucks tested in tough stretch of games

1A volleyball — St. Paul sweeps rival Perrydale to take control of the Casco League


The Bucakroos’ volleyball team began the season by playing just two matches in two weeks, but the schedule quickly ramped up in frequency and intensity last week.

After dispatching Crosshill Christian, Willamette Valley Christian and rival Perrydale to take firm control of the Casco League, things got even harder as head coach Lesli Hiller’s squad faced down No. 3 Dufur and No. 1 Condon/Wheeler over the weekend.

And while Hiller said facing the Rangers and Knights spurred the Bucks to play their best volleyball of the season, it was not enough to remain unbeaten, as they lost a 3-2 nail- biter to Dufur and were swept 3-0 by Condon/Wheeeler Saturday at Dufur High School.

St. Paul, however, has yet to lose a set in Casco League play after sweeping Monday on the road.

In the first match Saturday, the Bucks dropped the first two games to the Rangers 25-21 and 25-13 before striking back in the next two 26-24, 25-12 to force a fifth set. The Rangers went on to take the final deciding game by a 15-12 margin, but Hiller was pleased with what she saw from her team.

“We started out with a few too many net and lift calls, but soon cleaned up our play and were competing strong against Dufur,” Hiller said. “We were able to take them out of their system and contain some of their stronger hitters between our blocking and digging.”

Delaney Sump led the charge with 21 kills and three stuff blocks, while Sara Pierson and Emma Coleman combined to hit17 kills.

Cameron Stone and Carolina Ruvalcaba played well in the back, picking up 25 and 10 digs, respectively.

“Cameron and Carolina played very strong together and are becoming an incredible back row team; they also are our most reliable servers,” said Hiller, who said she was also pleased with the play of Kennedy Smith and Remy Brentano, who teamed up to distribute 40 assists combined.

Hiller said her team showed signs of wearing down having to turn around and face the Knights immediately after playing such a tight match against Dufur. The Bucks lost 25-21, 25-16, 26-24, enduring their first sweep since losing in the state semifinals last season.

Sump once again led the team with nine kills, while Stone, Ruvalcaba and Madison Caldwell had five each.

The Buckaroos kept it close throughout the third game and had a chance to force a fourth game before the Knights won the final two points to complete the sweep.

“We started to get our second wind in the third game but ended up falling short,” Hiller said. “It was a great day of volleyball and we were able to play with two of the best teams in 1A and will improve from the experience.”

St. Paul started its run of four league wins in six days by slamming Crosshill Christian 25-11, 25-17, 25-13 on Sept. 17, then topped WVC 25-9, 25-6, 25-23 on Sept. 18 and earned its biggest Casco win so far by taking down Perrydale 26-24, 25-10, 25-12 on Sept. 19.

“Perrydale came out real strong in the first game and we had some errors which made the game very close,” Hiller said. “I was very proud of my team staying strong, cleaning up their play and playing strong in every area.”

St. Paul (6-2, 6-0 Casco), which bested CSLA 25-14, 25-23, 25-15 on Monday, will travel to play Falls City, which is off to a surprising 4-3 start in league play, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and host Veritas at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Phil Hawkins of the Woodburn Independent contributed to this report




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