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East County teams looking for gold

Corbett and Portland Lutheran are both expected to compete among the states best on the volleyball courts this fall


by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Corbett volleyball coach Angela Davis goes over some defensive pointers during a match last season. She led the Cardinals to a 29-1 record and a third-place finish at the 3A state tournament in 2011.

Corbett’s volleyball team lost only one match in 2011. Unfortunately it came in the 3A semifinals in Eugene, ending the team’s run at a state title.

The Cardinals are reloading for another run through the Lewis & Clark League this fall with a core group of seniors that includes four-year setter Emma Busk directing the flow of play.

“We’re really focusing on being prepared on our side of the net and not worrying about our opponents as much,” Corbett coach Angela Davis said. “We want to be excellent at all of the little things — consistent passing and ball control.”

The Cardinals rushed through the league last season, dropping just a single set, before hitting a pair of five-set thrillers at the state tournament.

Corbett survived its first threat with a 19-17 final-set victory to get past Santiam Christian in the quarterfinals before falling 15-11 in Game 5 against Willamina in the semis.

Corbett went on to sweep Blanchet Catholic in three games to claim the 3A third-place trophy.

Banks won the 3A crown — a team that Corbett defeated twice during the regular season.

The Cardinals will look to pound points to the floor this season behind outside hitter Karina Lees, an all-tournament player as a sophomore, along with Sophia Raglione, Natalie Herge, Maddy Perkins newcomer Jina Kalberg.

“Volleyball is a momentum game, so we’re always out to sieze that whether we’re up or down on the scoreboard,” Davis said. “Our motto this season is WIN — What’s Important Next? — we’re going to focus on the next thing that is happening.”

Valley Catholic and Oregon Episcopal are expected to be the biggest threats on the Lewis & Clark schedule.

PORTLAND LUTHERAN

n The Blue Jays had a break through season in 2011, finishing second in the top-heavy Valley 10 League with an impressive 13-3 record.

Portland Lutheran graduates only two players from that squad and welcomes back middle blocker Denisse Cruz, who was out last season with a knee injury. She was an all-league player as a sophomore.

“Denisse trained all summer and is doing well,” Blue Jays coach Rory Rush said. “Not having her last year hurt our offensive game.”

Cruz will be joined in the front row by Bailey Caudell and Kiana MacPherson on the edges, while Kaitlin Howard patrols the middle. At 6-feet-2, Howard is one of the tallest players at the 1A level.

“We’ve never really been much of an attacking team, but having multiple hitters in that front row allows us to compete at a higher level,” Rush said.

The back line is anchored by senior libero Hana Laughton along with sophomore Gabi Rush.

“The nice thing about having so many kids back is that we don’t have to revisit the basics,” Rory Rush said. “We can work on specific skills and speeding up the game a bit. It allows us to be more offensive-minded and run some plays.”

With defending Valley 10 champ Damascus Christian out of the mix (see sidebar), Portland Lutheran is expected to battle Portland Waldorf at the top of the league this year. That could be good news for the Blue Jays who won all four meetings between the teams last season. Also in the discussion are Southwest Christian and City Christian.

Look for the full-season schedules for Corbett and Portland Lutheran on Page B3.



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