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Banks volleyball extends win streak to 15 matches

Braves clinch league title with three-set sweep of Scappoose

 - Banks junior Megan Bunn blasts a kill during last Thursday's victory over Scappoose, which clinched an undefeated Cowapa League season.It would be easy to think that the wins just blend together for the Banks volleyball team, but last week’s were special, even for a team that has had plenty of them this fall.

The No. 1 Braves (24-1) started the week off with a bang, clinching their third straight Cowapa League title against fifth-ranked Valley Catholic last Tuesday. Two days later, Banks celebrated its four seniors on an emotional Senior Night and then went out and blitzed Scappoose to win in three games.

“I’m happy that we come out and play, even with teams like this, we stay up at our same level we usually do,” said Jojo Wren, one of those seniors recognized before Thursday’s match.

Then on Saturday, the team capped the week by winning the Philomath tournament to run its winning streak to 15 matches and counting.

And now the Braves await the start of the Class 4A state playoffs.

“It is an awesome season,” senior setter Alyssa Chung said when asked how it felt to win a third consecutive league championship. “I love this season so far — my favorite.”

Not long before Chung made that assessment, the Braves made quick work of the Indians to close out their Cowapa slate at 10-0.

With Chung directing the offense, Wren providing tough serving and defense, and Banks getting strong hitting nights from Megan Bunn and Nikayla Doane, the Braves led almost every point of the match against Scappoose (8-12, 1-9), a team that has just one league win but still had a shot at a state play-in game.

For Wren, her top highlight from the match was actually produced by a junior in Doane, who unloaded perhaps the hardest-hit ball of the evening off the shoulder of a Scappoose player in the third set.

“That was probably my favorite part of the night,” Wren admitted.

Two days earlier, the Braves had little trouble sweeping the Valiants for the second time this season, this time by a 25-16, 25-20, 25-15 score to leave no doubt as to which team is the best in the league.

“We definitely were not looking past that game,” Chung said. “We were kind of just taking it point by point, working out all the little things we practiced so much in practice, and kind of just celebrating big and playing with each other.”

A couple days after the Scappoose win, Banks rang up three more to take their second tournament title in a row. The Braves swept by Klamath Union and No. 11 La Grande before turning back the host and 15th-ranked Warriors in the final with yet another 2-0 win. Breezing to the title, the team allowed none of those opponents to score more than 15 points in a game.

And now it is a matter of fine-tuning for the Braves while they await their as yet undetermind first-round playoff opponent.

In the meantime, the team is trying to schedule a match or two for next week. What is known is that the Braves will host their first round match on Nov. 1 with a spot in the following week’s Class 4A tournament in Eugene on the line.

Until then, it’s business as usual.

“We try to do the same thing,” Wren said. “We come to practice every day, work hard and expect the best from everyone.”


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