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Valley Catholic shucks off Warrenton to win

Valley Catholic isn't at its best, but wins again and heads on to state
by: Miles Vance SERVE IT UP — Valley Catholic’s Kelsey Luyten serves in her team’s win over Warrenton on Saturday.

BEAVERTON - Saturday's performance wasn't, perhaps, a major candidate for the Valley Catholic volleyball team's memory book.

That said, the Valiants' 25-23, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23 win over Warrenton in the Lewis and Clark League at Valley Catholic High School did extend VC's season and kept alive the team's hope for another strong finish at state. The Valiants will host xxxxx at x p.m. Saturday in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs - with a win there, the team would advance to the eight-team 3A state tournament at Lane Community College in Eugene on Nov. 11-12.

'Though we finished strong against Warrenton, it was a lapse in dealing with unexpected momentum changes that gave us difficulty,' said Valley Catholic coach Justin Denham. 'In the coming weeks, we need to improve the ability to play through pressure situations with confidence and shift momentum back to our side of the court.'

While the Valiants (24-4 overall) struggled with its serving and serve-receive against the Warriors (15-8), the team - led by senior outside hitter Tori Kemper, senior middle blocker Rebecca Baglai and sophomore Katharine Jesse - made enough plays at the end of games 1-3-4 to win.

'Though we passed relatively well, our overall serve receive offense was not as effective as I would like,' Denham said. 'I believe that was a large part of why we struggled against Warrenton, and improving our performance is a main priority for the coming weeks.'

Warrenton, which followed the lead of junior Courtney Lofton and senior Madison Smotherman on Saturday, challenged the Valiants in each of the match's four games, but won only the second, closing that one out at 25-23 on a VC error.

'Warrenton came into our gym on a mission and they played very well throughout the match,' Denham said. 'They surprised our team with their performance and we had to step back and compose ourselves to ensure we continued to play well.'

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.