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Lady Braves roll into state tournament


Banks girls earn their fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament with a four-set win over Cascade

After a record-setting regular season, which included the first undefeated run through Cowapa League play in school history, the Banks volleyball team will head to Eugene this weekend looking for the one thing that has eluded them the last three years — a state championship.

Banks beat Cascade in four sets on Saturday to earn the program’s fourth consecutive berth to the Class 4A state tournament, which begins on Friday at Lane Community College.

The Lady Braves finished second at the state tournament in 2010 and third last year, meaning Banks’ senior-laden roster has its eyes on a trophy in 2012.

“We’ve definitely progressed past the point where we’re just happy to be there,” Banks head coach Suzanne Alley said. “Our goal is to bring home some kind of hardware. We’re not really focused on what place we finish, but we do want to get some hardware.”

Banks will face Phoenix in the quarterfinals at 3:15 p.m. on Friday, and the winner will advance to the semifinals later that night. The state championship match is scheduled for 8:30 p.m on Saturday.

The Braves qualified for the state tournament with a 25-22, 27-25, 25-16, 25-23 first-round playoff victory over Cascade on Saturday.

Kaylin Vandomelen had 17 kills and 18 digs, Samantha Duyck had 11 kills and five blocks, and Megan Bunn had nine kills and seven blocks. Defensively, Lexi Chung had 25 digs and was 28-for-34 in serve-receive. Setter Aubrey Rue finished with 47 assists.

“It was a good night all the way around,” Alley said. “It was a good team effort.”

Banks trailed 22-11 in the fourth set but rallied back to tie the score at 23-23. Hannah Vandomelen entered the match and served out the final two points to clinch the Banks victory.

“Hannah went in at a really crucial time and served awesome,” Alley said. “She served a couple bullets.”

Now the Braves will turn their attention to the state tournament, where they will focus on each match as it comes.

“We’ve discussed a little bit (what our expectations are), and what we’ve agreed on is to just take one game at a time,” Alley said. “If we win that game, then we move on to the next opponent.”