HILLSBORO — This time, the rubber match went to Corvallis High.
Twelve months after falling to Lebanon in the OSAA 5A state volleyball semifinals, the Spartans again faced their Mid-Willamette Conference rivals at the state tournament. CHS, which split the regular-season series with Lebanon the past two years, rebounded from Friday’s semifinal defeat to sweep Saturday’s third-place match at Liberty High.
Set scores were 25-18, 25-15, 25-18.
“Our girls, they just pushed,” said CHS coach Steve Hyre, whose team lost in the third-place match a season ago. “We weren’t going to let déjà vu from last year get to us and I’m really proud of this group. They are young and they continued to improve as the season went on.
“I can’t say enough about all 12 of them, and I’m glad they all got to experience this.”
Sophomore Ryann Gregg led the fourth-seeded Spartans (20-5) with 15 kills. Tanya Sisson added eight and Nevaeh Bray six.
Teammate Kylynn Quinn tallied team-highs in assists (29) and aces (four).
No. 7 Lebanon (15-7), which lost to Bend in straight sets Friday night, finished 1-2 at the state tournament. It’s the program’s sixth consecutive top-sixfinish.
“Last night, we just didn’t play well at all,” Warriors coach Jorden Swanson said. “And that really kind of rolled over to this morning. I think mentally we were kind of working ourselves up and we didn’t really know how to get ourselves out of it. It’s a struggle because I know my team is way better than that.”
The Warriors played most of the 2017 season without star Lauren Christie, who suffered a torn ACL in September.
“Jorden does a great job with them and I knew they would be ready,” Hyre said. “Lauren Christie a big key to their success, but I also think (the injury) made that team stronger because they all had to step up.”
CHS, the outright MWC champion, used a 5-1 run to take a 6-3 lead in the opening set. An Allie Watts kill and stuff block extended it to 9-5 as the Spartans appeared to seize control.
Lebanon wouldn’t go quietly, pulling within two at 12-10 behind a Nicole Bender ace and Nicole Christie spike. But the Spartans answered with a quick 4-0 spurt to put it away.
The Warriors seized an early 3-1 lead in the second set before CHS stormed back. The Spartans took advantage of multiple Lebanon errors and benefitted from three Quinn aces to go up 15-7, forcing Lebanon to call timeout.
Kills by Gregg, Bray and Sisson helped close it out for CHS.
The third set was tight at the beginning until a Gregg kill and Watts stuff block made it 12-7. Lebanon cut it to 18-16 before Gregg, the two-time MWC player of the year, stopped the run with a tip winner.
The Spartans, who will graduate just two seniors in Tory Houpert and Tori Almond, continued to pull away until the third-place trophy became theirs.