High school sports round-up — The unbeaten Panthers sweep the Watchmen out of the playoffs one win shy of the state tournament

IMBLER — In its first-ever playoff appearance, the C.S. Lewis Academy volleyball team extended its historic season by picking up a 3-1 victory over McKenzie Oct. 30, but saw its magical run end three days later in a 3-0 second-round sweep at the hands of No. 3 Imbler.

“Quite simply, there’s a reason why Imbler is 24-0,” head coach Vince Swagerty said. “They’re really strong at every position. Their No. 1 hitter is the best hitter we’ve faced all year long.”

The Watchmen had never even made the Casco League district playoffs entering this year, but went on a late season tear to qualify, then won twice to earn an unprecedented berth to the state tournament.

Swagerty’s group took full advantage of the opportunity against McKenzie, with the only real problem coming on the drive south.

The team had to abandon its bus and pile into cars with parents and fans in order to get to McKenzie High School and started the contest 15 minutes later after taking a short warm up.

“I was so pleased at how our girls handled the adversity,” Swagerty said. “This was state volleyball, on the road, a two and a half hour trip and then to have this happen and just go in and play volleyball and play well, they acted like nothing was wrong.”

Talismanic talent Mikaela Raudsepp racked up 29 kills and seven stuff blocks to lead the Watchmen to a 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 25-16 victory.

C.S. Lewis had one of its best serving performances of the year, disrupting the Eagles offense, which led to easy balls that the Watchmen could set up for kills.

“Overall, our level of play as a team was a treat,” Swagerty said. “We just went in there and acted like we were supposed to win that game. We played like we expected to win, played like we prepared and you could see as the match went on McKenzie players look at each other and say, ‘What’s going on here?’”

While longer, the trip to Imbler went smoothly and C.S. Lewis played well right off the bat. However, the Panthers quickly found their rhythm and cruised to a 25-20, 25-15, 25-18 victory to advance to the state quarterfinals, where they will face off with St. Paul.

Imbler limited Raudsepp to just 13 kills and turning the tables on the Watchmen, threw the Watchmen will effective serving in each set.

“They reacted like a team that wanted to keep playing,” Swagerty said of his players. “They were emotional. They really wanted to win and get to Redmond. But they were also were and are really proud of what we accomplished. That’s pretty amazing.”

Cross Country

6A state championships — Running alone on Friday because her religious beliefs do not allow her to compete on Saturdays, Newberg senior Debora DeLeon placed 43rd in 20:19. The time was just eight seconds off her personal best and an improvement of more than a minute from her performance last year. DeLeon placed second among Pacific Conference runners, trailing only Forest Grove’s Rubi Vergara-Grindell.

Boys water polo

Newberg 25, Sprague 9 — Craig Beecher scored eight goals to lead Newberg to a win in a district playoff game. Seven different Tigers scored at least two goals in the victory.

Newberg 16, Sunset 6 — Beecher added six more goals in the first-round state playoff game, which saw the Tigers get off to a slow start, leading just 1-0 after one quarter. Newberg will face South Eugene Friday in the state semifinals in Corvallis.

Girls water polo

Newberg 8, Tigard 4 — Katrina Reichenbach, Alena Lidey Lam, Victoria Johnson and Elizabeth Andrews scored two goals apiece as the Tigers won the playoff to claim the Pacific Conference’s second seed to the state playoffs.

Newberg 15, South Eugene 4 — Johnson scored four goals and Lidey Lam added three for Newberg in the district playoff win. Tia Lattanzio had three assists.

Lincoln 16, Newberg 3 — The Tigers were overwhelmed by the Cardinals in the state quarterfinal contest, falling behind 6-1 at halftime. Grace Brockie, Andrews and Lattanzio score one goal apiece for Newberg.

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