Creswell, Pleasant Hill, Sports Zone

Creswell, Pleasant Hill boys volleyball ‘emerging’ as competitive, good time

PLEASANT HILL – Anna Baltrusch, one of the most-decorated high school girls volleyball coaches in Oregon during her tenure at Creswell High School, said she was often beset with one question from boys. 

“Boys forever would ask me, ‘Why can’t we play volleyball? Why isn’t there a league for us?’” Baltrusch said. “Even at the club level rarely have we had an all-boys team. My daughters are in their 40s now, and for that length of time there has hardly been even any boys club teams in this area. 

“The boys always had to play on the girls team, and they could only do that until they were 16. So it’s cool the boys are getting to play now,” she said.

Even cooler, perhaps, is that Pleasant Hill also is fielding a boys team this year. With growing interest statewide, the Oregon School Activities Association recognized the sport as an “emerging activity.” That’s a step up from being a club sport the year prior.

This season marks Pleasant Hill’s first with a boys volleyball team. 

“Just to exist is huge. Half the time we only have six boys to practice because they’re doing track or band,” Billies assistant coach Angela Borek said. “But they just want to come and play and compete. They’re just really good kids, so it’s awesome.”

Creswell boys volleyball players Acelin Arnold (7) and Cameron Gallegos smile during the team’s match at Pleasant Hill last week. Boys volleyball is in its first season as an emerging sport, and is well on its way to becoming an official OSAA sport.

The Billies were riding high last Thursday night as they secured their first team win in their first home match. The triumph was not without suspense, though, as the Billies took down Creswell in five intense sets.

The Billies won the first set 25-19, but dropped the next two 25-12 and 25-18. Down two sets to one, the Billies found themselves trailing 15-9 before scoring seven unanswered points, eventually winning the fourth set in a score of 25-22. During the fifth and final set, the Billies trailed only one time before winning 15-7.

“I just think for the boys it’s a great experience just to play and have fun. They’re learning so much as we go,” said Borek, who also is an assistant coach for the Billies girls volleyball team. “So for them to win one, then get crushed (in the second set) and then come back … It’s just such a great sport.”

The Bulldogs are in the second year of their boys volleyball program. After competing in state as a club team last year, Creswell coaches and players are happy there’s competition nearby. 

“We were the only school in the whole area that had a team last year,” Baltrusch said. “To play anybody we had to go to Salem, or Redmond or Medford because there was nobody to play. So we’re really excited this year that we get to play here.”



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