Creswell, Sports

Lady Dawgs host state’s best for volleyball tourney

Going 1-1 on Sept. 29 brought the ninth-ranked Creswell volleyball team’s record to 2-1 in league and 6-7 overall, and Saturday’s Creswell Tournament tested the Lady Dawgs’ mettle against many of the state’s best teams.
“We’re the highest-ranked team with a losing record, because we’ve played all the top (3A) teams,” noted Creswell Head Coach Anna Baltrusch. “We’ve had a really tough schedule.”
In league play, the Lady Dawgs downed visiting Pleasant Hill 25-15, 25-13 and 25-19 on Sept. 25, but fell to third-ranked Santiam Christian 23-25, 27-25, 20-25 and 12-25 on Sept. 27.
Against Pleasant Hill, Breanna Dapron and Karlie Harris had nine kills apiece. Bailey Howell had 11 digs and Kailee Cooper had nine. Jenessa Mallory provided 17 assists, while Kylee Whitson was the only Creswell player with an ace.
“We served them tough; they still weren’t returning it in good setting position, but we weren’t acing them, which is a positive for them,” Baltrusch said.
At Santiam Christian, Dapron had eight kills and three aces, while Howell had seven kills and three aces. Harris had six kills and several stuff blocks. “She did a great job blocking,” Baltrusch said.
Libero Jane Marquess scooped 13 digs.
“We were up quite a bit in the second set and should’ve won that one more easily. But once we lost the third set we kind of got down and didn’t play as well,” Baltrusch said.
Cascade Christian beat Coquille 2-1 for the championship of the Creswell Tournament on Sept. 29.
In pool play, Creswell defeated Columbia Christian 25-7 and 25-5; Bandon 25-12 and 25-16; and Coquille 25-23 and 25-15.
The Lady Dawgs were eliminated after narrowly dropping their first game of bracket play to top-ranked South Umpqua, 25-18, 23-25 and 14-16.
“They were a good team, and the girls played awesome,” Baltrusch said. “In the second set (South Umpqua) started tipping into the middle more — and in the third set there was a lot of back-and-forth, where one team would get up by several points and you think you have it, and then it would switch.”
Dapron paced Creswell with 10 kills. Whitson had four kills and two stuff blocks; Harris had two stuff blocks; Mallory had four aces and 10 assists; and Howell had three aces and “served a ton of points,” Baltrusch said.
The 10-team tournament showcased nearly all of the state’s top 3A teams. “The only one not there was Santiam Christian, and we’d just seen them,” Baltrusch said. “It was a really good tournament — and a really tight tournament to see who was going to be in the championship match.”
Eighth-ranked Harrisburg comes to town this week, and with her team having already beaten or only narrowly lost to most of the teams ranked above them, Baltrusch likes the Lady Dawgs’ chances.
“I’m feeling really good about how the girls are playing — and,” she added, with so many tough wins and losses under their belts, “it’s good that they know they still need to work hard to get where they want to go.”