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Trojans prep for another trip to state quarterfinals

Kennedy volleyball sweeps Bonanza 3-0 in first-round game


For the second year in a row, the Kennedy volleyball team is headed to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs after the Trojans dispatched the Bonanza Antlers 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-22) Saturday in Mount Angel.

After finishing the regular season ranked No. 8 in the OSAA rankings, Kennedy hosted the No. Antlers in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.

Although the Trojans swept past another opponent for the sixth time in seven games, Bonanza made several runs in the second and third sets to make Kennedy work hard for their wins.

“We always play to the level of what our competitor brings to us,” said Kennedy coach Staci Sprauer. “So I don’t think it was our best playing match.”

After beating Bonanza by nine points in the first match, Kennedy played the Antlers evenly in the second set before going on a nine-point run to take a commanding 18-9 lead. But Bonanza responded by winning eight of the next 10 points to cut the Trojans’ lead to 20-17. The two teams traded points before the Trojans put the game away for good on a spike by junior Loghan Sprauer to go up 2-0.

In the third set, Kennedy again built an 18-9 lead, but Bonanza started chipping away, scoring six of the next eight points. Later, with the Trojans holding a 24-17 lead, the Antlers won five straight points to cut the lead to two, but a service error by Bonanza gave Kennedy the win and punched the Trojans’ ticket to the quarterfinals in Redmond this Friday.

The Trojans (20-4, 14-2 Tri-Valley) are seeking to improve on last year’s team that qualified for the quarterfinals before losing two straight to finish the season.

This year’s team has consistently been among the top 2A teams in the state this year after cruising through the regular season largely uncontested. Kennedy’s only losses this season have come against Oregon Episcopal, the No. 3 team in the 3A classification, and a trio defeats at the hands of conference rival Culver, the No. 2-ranked team in 2A volleyball.

“I think the best potential we’ve displayed this year was when we beat Culver at their place in the first two matches, and that was the best I’ve seen my girls play,” said Sprauer, referring to the Trojans’ 3-2 loss to Culver in the conference playoffs. “They played solid and they played very relaxed, and when they play relaxed, they always play so much better.”

Kennedy will have a similarly tough opponent to open the tournament Friday when they play the No.-1 ranked Weston-McEwen TigerScots (29-1, 16-0 Blue Mountain).

“I’m looking forward to playing Weston-McEwen because I think their level is probably about the same as Culver,” said Sprauer. “(They have) one good hitter and solid defense, and that’s what we’re up against when we go to state this Friday.”

Sprauer said the team’s goal is to perform better than last year’s team and attempt to qualify for one of the three placement games, though she believes her team has the capacity to be one of the top two teams competing for the state championship Saturday night.

“If we beat Weston-McEwen in the first round, we plan on being in the final round,” she said.

Kennedy and Weston-McEwen will play at 8 a.m. Friday. The winning team will advance to the semi-finals later that evening, while the team that loses will play in the consolation bracket Saturday morning.

For the full tournament bracket, go to www.osaa.org/activities/vbl.



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