BULLDOGS OPPOSITE JENESSA MALLORY ATTEMPTS TO SAVE A DIG FROM HER TEAMMATE BAILEY HOWELL DURING THE FIRST SET OF THE CRESWELL VERSUS HARRISBURG MATCHUP ON OCT. 23. THE CRESWELL BULLDOGS LOST TO THE HARRISBURG EAGLES 2-3 AND FINISHED OUT THEIR OVERALL SEASON WITH A 12-10 SCORE. Christopher Palanuk/The Creswell Chronicle
Creswell’s lengthy tradition of advancing to the 3A Volleyball State Championships continues after the 10th-ranked Lady Bulldogs bested seventh-ranked Catlin Gabel 3-1 in a state playoff game on Oct. 27.
Breanna Dapron had 13 kills, two aces and served 11 points in a single set to lead the Lady Dawgs past host Catlin Gabel. ”She served a ton of points,” said Head Coach Anna Baltrusch.
Bailey Howell had nine kills and 10 digs; Kylee Whitson had six kills; Kailee Cooper had 13 digs and two aces; Karlie Harris had four stuff blocks; and Jane Marquess had two aces.
Jenessa Mallory had 19 assists and ”three fantastic dumps for kills in the fourth set,” Baltrusch said.
The Lady Dawgs overcame a low gym ceiling and multiple double-hit setting calls in earning the 21-25, 25-20, 25-18 and 25-22 win.
”Their gym had the lowest ceiling I’ve ever played in, and against both teams the referee was making old-style calls where if the ball spins at all as it leaves the hands they were calling a double-hit,” Baltrusch said.
After receiving five such calls in the first set and three more within the first five points of the second, setters Mallory and Howell ”had to change their game – but they were able to adjust and started setting better,” Baltrusch said. ”Both of our setters did fantastic.”
In the final set, Creswell also overcame letting a 23-16 lead slip away: ”We let them back into it, and it was 23-22 before we got a side-out and then scored the winning point,” Baltrusch said.
As the top-ranked 3A team not earning a bid from their own league, Creswell earned an at-large state bid despite losing their Oct. 23 league playoff game to determine the Mountain Valley Conference’s second seed to state.
Creswell fell 2-3 to visiting ninth-ranked Harrisburg, 25-15, 25-17, 14-25, 17-25 and 9-15.
”They played fantastic; they were digging everything we were sending them,” Baltrusch said of the Eagles. ”We had a lot of hitting errors; we tried to do different things, nothing worked, and our attitude started slipping. We gave it our all, but once we gave them an opening they were on it.”
Dapron had 19 kills, 16 digs, two stuff blocks and two aces. Howell had 11 kills and 11 digs; Whitson had nine kills and two aces; Mallory had 12 digs and provided 39 assists; Macy Waller had three stuff blocks; and Cooper had three aces.
Despite the loss, post game talks ”about keeping a positive attitude really paid off when we played Catlin Gabel,” Baltrusch noted. After losing the first set of their state playoff game, ”nobody was hanging their head; they all stayed positive and kept playing hard.”
League Champion Santiam Christian was the conference’s first seed to state and bested visiting 15th-ranked Warrenton 25-18, 25-12 and 25-15 during state playoffs.
Harrisburg traveled to eighth-ranked Burns for state playoffs and were eliminated after falling 14-25, 23-25 and 22-25.
The Lady Dawgs battle second-ranked Santiam Christian in the state quarterfinals on Nov. 2 at Forest Grove High School.
”We’re going to be making a whole new set of memories for a whole new group of kids,” said Baltrusch, noting that just two of her 13 players have made the trip to state before.
”The kids are pretty excited, and if we don’t take ourselves out of it mentally this team’s good enough to go all the way,” she said. ”We’ve worked a lot on keeping a positive mental attitude, and if we can do that, the sky’s the limit.”
Follow Creswell’s progress through the 3A state volleyball brackets at http://www.osaa.org/activities/vbl/brackets.