By Rongi Yost
Correspondent 

Outlaws crowned conference champs

 

Last updated 10/18/2022 at Noon



The No. 1-ranked Lady Outlaws volleyball squad traveled to Pleasant Hill High School on Tuesday, October 11, to take on the No. 3 ranked Billies, and lost in a grueling five-set match — their first loss in league play.

Two days later, the agony of defeat was put behind them as they swept Creswell at home, and secured the Mountain Valley Conference Championship.

In Monday’s matchup against Pleasant Hill the Lady Outlaws jumped out to a quick and decisive 25-18 first set, but knew better than to expect the Billies to give up. Pleasant Hill was riding a 10-game winning streak, and the Billies played a scrappy second set, and won 26-24.

As the third set began, the Lady Outlaws relied on junior outside hitter Gracelyn Myhre. It seemed that every time Sisters needed a point, a big dig, or a strategically placed pass, Myhre was involved. The Outlaws took the set 25-23.

Coach Rory Rush said, “I thought Gracelyn really put us on her back tonight. She was strategic in her attacks and was very reliable on the defensive side of the ball.”

As teams entered the fourth set, the Lady Billies came out with an onslaught of strong attacks that the Lady Outlaws struggled to return. Coach Rush made substitutions to try and bring balance and stability to her reeling defense, but in the end the aggressive play of the Billies was too much to overcome and they took the set 25-23 and forced a winner-take-all fifth set.

The final set began and it was clear to everyone in the gym that it was going to be back-and-forth the whole way. Teams traded points all the way to 16-16. Gracie Vohs was set to the outside and placed a beautiful ball straight down to the floor, but unfortunately was called in the net for a fault. Pleasant Hill went back to serve game point and served an ace that landed right in front of the Lady Outlaws’ bench for the 18-16 win for the Billies.

Rush said, “I thought we played scrappy and battled hard tonight. We got rattled a bit tonight, but I think we learned something about our team unity and resolve in a tough road environment. These girls are extremely resilient and they will bounce back!”

They got their chance to prove it.

On Thursday, the No. 1 Outlaws hosted the No. 6-ranked Creswell Bulldogs. A win for Sisters would secure them the league championship, and if they lost they would fall into a three-way tie for first place.

The Lady Outlaws knew the stakes were high, and they came out firing on all cylinders. Coach Rush told The Nugget the Outlaws looked much more crisp in their gameplay, and visibly more in sync in their communication on the floor.

Rush said, “We had a fantastic couple of days of practice preparing for this game. We quickly moved past the loss and focused in on what was in front of us. We knew what was at stake. Our first goal this year was to win the conference, and being able to attain that at home and on senior night was something we had laser focus to achieve.”

The Outlaws’ focus and determination was evident from the get-go. Sisters made their serves, turned in spectacular blocks at the net, and their talented hitters were aggressive. As the match progressed, the Outlaws cleaned up their unforced errors, and the team clicked more and more with each point they made.

As the final ball fell to the floor the Outlaws celebrated their three seniors, and reveled in their conference championship and automatic bid to the 3A State Tournament. Final scores were 25-20, 25-22, and 25-11.

Vohs led the team with 18 kills and five blocks, Bailey Robertson recorded nine kills and five blocks, and Gracelyn Myhre added eight kills and three aces.

Prior to the game, the Outlaws honored their three seniors, which included Hannah Fendall, Anna Landon, and Adrienne Steffens.

Fendall has been a varsity setter for the Outlaws the past three years, and a consistent leader and floor captain.

Rush said, “Hannah’s positive energy and infectious smile always puts her teammates at ease. It has been an honor to coach her and watch her grow as a player.

Landon is a defensive specialist and has played on varsity for two years.

Rush said, “Anna has grown so much as a player over the last two years. Her quiet but competitive nature pushes her teammates to be better.”

Steffens is also a defensive specialist and has played varsity for one year.

Rush said, “Adrienne returned to the court this season after taking some time off. She has been such a great addition to our team. She is a fierce competitor and pushes those around her to be better. She is a great passer with a tough serve.”

Sisters was scheduled to travel to Siuslaw on October 18. They will wrap up league play on the road at La Pine on Thursday, October 20.

 

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