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Rangers continue league streak


Estacada takes sixth straight Tri-Valley League match but stumbles in tournament

On the heels of the most emotional week of the season, Estacada head volleyball coach Shawna Lippert was probably waiting to see how her team would respond. Just days after dominating their two biggest league challengers, the Rangers traveled to North Marion and continued to build their momentum.

Having crushed North Marion 3-0 in their first meeting, including a 25-3 thrashing, the Rangers picked up right where they left off. Last Wednesday, the Rangers earned yet another sweep, their fourth in their past five league matches, with a dominating score of 25-10, 25-10, 25-5.

“We played great against North Marion,” Lippert said. “We had very few errors and were able to maintain our level of play. We’re starting to make less errors on offense and defense, giving teams less points.”

The win featured a ridiculous 17 aces, 49 digs and just one error. Genna Settle led the way with 14 digs, while Katie Nation posted four aces, and Rachel Lowe and Sarah Davies each had 11 kills.

From there, the Rangers traveled to Seaside last weekend for arguably the biggest tournament of the year. Aside from the top 4A teams in the state, the tournament also featured a number of strong teams from other divisions.

As Lippert put it, the weekend would be a good measuring stick.

The Rangers got off to a great start in pool play with an easy victory over Cascade (25-12, 25-19) before running into the No. 1 team in 3A, Corbett.

In heartbreaking fashion, the Rangers lost 24-25, 24-25.

“Corbett gave us some trouble and we were neck and neck throughout both games,” Lippert said. “Tori Johnson hurt her leg in the beginning of the match and that threw our team off a bit. Our focus wasn't good and I know the girls were worried about Tori, so it was a tough match”

The Rangers rebounded to beat Seaside in the final pool play match, 25-16, 25-10 in order to advance into the quarterfinals against La Grande.

The Rangers would advance no futher.

In a three-set thriller, the Rangers lost another heartbreaker 24-26, 25-22, 7-15.

“We led the whole first game until the very end,” Lippert said. “Our mental toughness often gets the best of us, but in the second game we were in control the entire time. Those two games were a great display of two very skilled teams.

“The third game could be anybody's game, and unfortunately we struggled from the beginning with poor serve receive. We could never get a rhythm and we made it pretty easy for La Grande. It was disappointing, especially after such a hard battle to force the third game.”

Of further concern for the Rangers is the rash of injuries the team is battling. Lippert hopes the team will be able to heal before its rematch with La Salle coming up Tuesday, Oct. 23.

“We are so close to greatness,” she said. “We just have to continue to work hard and get better at practice.”

In the tournament, the Rangers were led by Haley Lusher and Sarah Davies, among others. Lusher had 38 digs in the first two matches, and then 29 more in the match against La Grande. Davies posted 33 kills over the course of the four matches.

Tuesday’s match against La Salle is the final match of the regular season, and begins at 6 p.m. at La Salle.