2012 Madras volleyball review

by: Billy Gates/The Pioneer - Madras sophomore Shelby Mauritson, seen here earlier in the season, was not only named to the first-team Tri-Valley Conference all-star team, but was one of two players to be named player of the year. Joining her on the first team were seniors Lauren Simmons and Sarah Brown.

After the first five matches of the season for the Madras White Buffalos volleyball team, you would have been crazy to say they would trophy at the state tournament.
   But once the young talent jelled with the experienced veterans, the wins piled up and the Buffs rolled to fifth place at the Class 4A tournament in Eugene.
   Madras head coach Jamie Smith, who was named the Tri-Valley Conference coach of the year this season, said the approach to making the state tournament was simple - just take it match by match.
   Once the Buffs tied Estacada for the TVC championship with a 9-1 record, the Rangers advanced as the top seed based on a tiebreaker scenario that, in hindsight, helped the Buffs.
   With the Oregon Schools Activities Association power rating system used to seed playoff teams, it turned out having a lower rating than the Rangers kept the Buffs from facing red-hot Astoria in the first round.
   In fact, the Lady Fish of Astoria not only downed Estacada in the first round, but eventually earned a shot at the state championship.
   The Buffs' first-round opponent, Siuslaw, wasn't playing very well at the end of its season, and the Buffs were able to take advantage of that.
   Led by sophomore Shelby Mauritson, the co-player of the year in the Tri-Valley Conference, along with first-team all-TVC selections Lauren Simmons and Sarah Brown, the Buffs blasted Henley in the play-in round, then took out the higher-seeded Vikings on the road in Florence.
   The Buffs started the season 0-5 with losses to eventual state champion Crook County, state playoff qualifiers Ridgeview, Sisters and Cascade, along with Cottage Grove.
   But the Buffs began to regroup after a solid showing at the Dallas Tournament, an obvious turning point of the season, and once the TVC schedule began, the Buffs went nuts.
   The team ran off eight straight victories, five in TVC play and three to win the Junction City Tournament (and avenge a loss to Cottage Grove), before they dropped their lone TVC match in Estacada.
   A second-place finish at the Seaside Tournament followed, then the Buffs completed the TVC docket with wins to earn a first-place tie with Estacada atop the league standings.
   Along with Mauritson, Simmons and Brown were named to the first-team all-conference squad, and sophomores Alexis Urbach and Elle Renault were named to the second-team all-conference team.
   Senior Natalie Martin rounded out the Buffs' all-stars with an honorable mention distinction.
   In other postseason awards, Mauritson was named to the Class 4A all-tournament second team after her performance at the state tournament held in Eugene.
   The Buffs will lose Simmons, Martin, Brown and Caitlyn Hulsey to graduation.
   In official OSAA matches, the Buffs finished the year 18-11.
   They ended the season rated No. 13 in the OSAA power ratings, commonly referred to as the RPI, and were given a No. 6 seed into the state tournament.
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