ADAIR VILLAGE — Santiam Christian High cut down on the mistakes to avenge its lone blemish.
In Thursday night’s West Valley League volleyball showdown, the Eagles passed with great efficiency and attacked from all angles en route to a comfortable 3-0 home victory. Set scores were 25-11, 25-17, 25-12.
It’s the first conference defeat for the Pirates (9-4, 8-1), who swept SC (10-1, 8-1) earlier this month in Dayton.
“We really played as a team tonight and we were unified,” said senior Leah Boyer, who led the Eagles with 11 kills. “We passed better and we hit it in spots that we knew they were weak in.”
Kassie Staton tallied seven kills and eight digs for SC while Rebeka Preston added seven kills and six blocks. Madison Wobig collected team highs in assists (14) and aces (three). Josie Risinger wasn’t far behind with 12 assists.
The Eagles were competitive in all three sets at Dayton, falling 26-24 in the second and 25-22 to end the match.
“They took out our setter, and we didn’t allow that this time,” SC coach Kelli Fitzpatrick said. “We were putting up the block and the few times they did take our setter out, our girls were there to pick it up. We just struggled getting that momentum last time, and tonight they were all just taking care of each other.”
SC, which will return to WVL play Monday at Horizon Christian after participating in Saturday’s Mt. Hood Invitational in Gresham, started strong in each set.
Three consecutive Dayton attack errors and a Boyer ace gave the Eagles a 4-1 lead in the opener. Another ace — this time from Wobig — followed by a Preston spike extended it to 9-3 and prompted the Pirates to call time out.
The lead swelled to 13-3 before SC's run finally ended, putting the visitors in an insurmountable hole.
“As soon as we get on top from the beginning, it just builds that confidence in the girls to keep pounding and pounding,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s such a mental game sometimes and if you get on top right away, you don’t play scared.”
The momentum carried over to the second set as an Emily Bourne kill put the Eagles up 4-1. A Preston stuff block and Wobig ace made it 7-2.
Dayton kept within striking distance for much of the set, cutting it to 14-10 and later 18-15 with scrappy defensive play and well-placed balls. But the Eagles never gave in, using a Boyer kill and Preston ace to go back up 22-15.
SC closed the set on a 7-2 run.
“We knew where they were going and in practice we really worked hard on covering and knowing their spots,” Boyer said.
Preston and the Eagles got off to another fast start as the senior's stuff block made it 5-1 in the final set. A Stanton kill followed by another Dayton error gave the Eagles a 10-3 lead as the visitors called time to regroup.
But the Pirates never could, falling behind 17-8 and 22-10 while SC flexed its offensive muscles.
The Eagles, who shared the WVL title last fall with Westside Christian, have five league matches remaining before the postseason begins. SC is eyeing a 15th consecutive trip to the 3A state quarterfinals.
“We’ve come leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season,” Fitzpatrick said. “That loss to Dayton actually taught me a lot and showed me what we need to adjust and change. And since then, we’ve really grown.”