Only top-ranked Central keeps Westview from state tournament berth

It's all about testing yourself against the best when you get to the postseason, and the Westview volleyball team did just that.

The Wildcats, after finishing fourth in the Metro League season, won their way into the Class 6A state playoffs by rolling over Newberg in their Play-In match, and still had lots of volleyball ahead of them.

Next, in its Nov. 2 state playoff opener, No. 16 Westview took out No. 17 Redmond at Redmond High School, winning 25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 25-13.

The Wildcats' reward for their efforts? A second-round date at Central Catholic against the high-flying, top-rated 30-0 Rams, the two-time defending Class 6A state champions.

Westview fell short at Central Catholic High School on Saturday night, but made a good show of it, battling all the way through its 25-16, 25-20, 25-10 loss. The defeat ended Westview's season at 17-12.

'Central Catholic is a good team, the best team we've seen all year and we've played all of the teams in the top five,' said Westview coach Anna Dillard. 'At the end of the day, their size -- and in particular, the attacking of Martenne Bettendorf -- was a big factor.'

The Cats were solid in game one against the Rams, pushed Central even harder in game two, then finally were overwhelmed by the reigning state champs in game three. Dillard especially praised the efforts of seniors Jackie Stein and Jessica Lautenbach for their work on the block - they each had seven blocks in the match - and of junior Sydney Blankinship, who was solid in the middle with four kills.

Beyond their efforts in the playoffs, the Wildcats pushed Metro co-champion Aloha to five games on Oct. 11, took a game from Metro co-champ Jesuit on Oct. 13, won six of seven matches mid-season and three of four down the stretch before the loss to Central.

In addition to Stein and Lautenbach, the Wildcats will also graduate seniors Danielle Arnold, Chazare Gaspar, Allie George and Morgan Smith.

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