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A long time coming

MHS spikers beat Siuslaw, make final site for first time since 1993
It has been far too long since the Madras White Buffalos volleyball team has been to the state tournament.
   Nearly 20 years after their last appearance at the final site, the Buffs earned a road trip back to Eugene with a four-set victory against Siuslaw on Saturday in Florence.
   Madras nearly swept the Vikings after taking the first two sets 25-20, but the Buffs dropped the third set 25-22 before winning the fourth set, 25-22..
   The win sets up the Buffs in the quarterfinal round against Greater Oregon League champion La Grande at 1:15 p.m. Friday at Lane Community College in Eugene.
   It has been 19 years since the Buffs were last at the state tournament in Eugene. That year, 1993, the Buffs placed sixth.
   It has been even longer since the Buffs placed in the top-four, however. That came in 1987, when they defeated Pleasant Hill for fourth place. That was the last time Madras has won an OSAA volleyball tournament trophy.
   The Buffs were led by three outstanding performances from Shelby Mauritson, Alexis Urbach and Sarah Brown.
   Mauritson smacked a match-high 21 kills with a hitting percentage of .360. She also chipped in 14 digs, 11 assists and a pair of blocks in a fantastic all-around match.
   Urbach wasn't far behind her teammate with 20 kills and a hitting percentage of .390. She also notched three aces and had 14 digs.
   Brown completed the terrific trio with 18 kills and 15 digs. Brown's hitting percentage was off the chart, converting 53 percent (.530) of her attacks.
   Setter Elle Renault had 41assists along with 24 digs, while Lauren Simmons chipped in 17 digs for the Buffs.
   Senior Natalie Martin had 16 digs and missed just one serve in 18 tries.
   Madras head coach Jamie Smith said a furious comeback in the fourth set sealed the win for the Buffs, led by Martin.
   Down 20-16, Martin served six consecutive points and caused the Vikings to burn through both their timeouts, but they still couldn't stop the Buffs from winning the set, and the match.
   Smith also mentioned that Keely Brown had two "huge" blocks for Madras in the fourth set that helped with the victory as well.
   In the first set, tied at 18-18, Urbach served five straight points, including two aces, to help the Buffs take control and set the tone of the match with the first-set victory.
   Madras, a No. 6 seed in the tournament, is the lowest seed to advance to the quarterfinals, and is on the same side of the bracket as overall No. 1 Crook County.