by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras junior Shelby Mauritson winds up an attack during the White Buffalos' 3-1 win against Estacada on Monday at the Buffalo  Dome. Mauritson had one of the best matches of her career with 31 kills to help lead the Buffs to a 6-0 record in the Tri-Valley Conference, and a stranglehold on first place heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. Shelby Mauritson goes off the chart for 31 kills in 4-set win

The Madras High School volleyball team stayed unbeaten in Tri-Valley Conference play, behind a huge night from Shelby Mauritson, with a four-set victory against Estacada on Monday at Madras High School.

Set scores were 25-19, 25-16, 23-25, 25-17.

Mauritson, a junior outside hitter, notched 31 kills in the match and was an absolute machine when it came to putting the ball down on Estacada’s side of the net.

“That’s insane. That doesn’t just happen,” Madras coach Rhea Cardwell said about Mauritson’s kill total. “And Estacada is a great team, so that makes it even more impressive. I’m so proud of her.”

In what ended up the deciding set, Mauritson gave the Buffs a lift with three consecutive kills, which turned a 10-8 lead into 13-8 fairly quickly. Late in the set, Mauritson showed off her precision with a kill that hit the 10-foot line, and then cut the back line in half with another kill to give the Buffs a 23-15 advantage.

After Estacada picked up a couple points, and gave one up on an attack error, Mauritson put an end to the match with her mighty right arm, drilling a kill from the left pin and sealing the win for the White Buffalos.

Madras had to deal with constant pressure from the Rangers’ attack the entire night, and outside of the third set when Cardwell said the team “lost its focus,” the Buffs handled it well.

“They just have so many good hitters on their team, you really have to be ready and on your game defensively to beat them,” Cardwell said. “They are really aggressive and have a good block, and you can’t wait for them to make a mistake. You have to transition well defensively and get to your spots.”

While Mauritson was pounding away at the Rangers’ defense, by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras' Elle Renault (left) and Keely Brown try to block an attack by an Estacada player during the Buffs' 3-1 win against the Rangers on Monday.Alexis Urbach was having a good night in the attack as well, just without the flash.

When Urbach was met with a double block by Estacada, which was for the majority of the night, she didn’t try to blast a shot through the block, but rather recognized where the defense wasn’t covering and scored on an easy tip shot.

“Kills are kills, no matter where it goes,” Cardwell said. “That was kind of my bread and butter in college because I wasn’t big, so we work on that quite a bit in practice, and Alexis did a nice job seeing it and her versatility.”

Urbach had 10 kills just off the tips, and she kept going to it because Estacada never slid anyone forward to cover the area toward the sideline in relation to the the block.

In the third set, which the Buffs lost, Cardwell said her team lost focus near the end. Madras held an 18-12 lead at one point, following a Mauritson kill, but then the Rangers pieced together several minirallies to get back in front 23-21.

Mauritson smacked a pair of kills to move the score to 24-23, but Estacada scored on the next serve to take the set.

Cardwell said sometimes losing focus, like she said the team did, can be beneficial.

“It makes you realize that you’re still vulnerable and you still need to work hard,” Cardwell said. “But I was really pleased with our effort, and the offense was pretty spread out, even with Shelby’s big night.”

The win moved Madras to 6-0 in TVC play and 8-9 overall. They will travel to Gladstone to take on the Gladiators on Wednesday.

Buffs second at Junction City tourney

Due to sickness, the Buffs were down three players when they hit the road to the Junction City tournament Saturday, but finished in second place, anyway.

The Buffs ripped through the pool play round in the tournament, winning both sets in every match they played, and then beat Taft and Cottage Grove before falling to Class 3A power Creswell in the championship match.

Madras defeated Taft 25-8, 25-8 in the shortened best two out of three match format, then took out Cottage Grove 25-17, 25-22. They took Creswell to three sets, but lost 25-21, 23-25, 12-15.

“We played amazing, and we really just had six girls that played the entire time,” Cardwell said. “I was talking with the Creswell coach after our match, and we both just couldn’t stop talking about how well our teams played and how good of a match it was.”

Creswell, a member of the 3A PacWest Conference, is 20-3 on the season and is the only team in its conference to take mighty Santiam Christian to a fourth set, so they are still a quality opponent for the Buffs.

Urbach ended the tournament with 69 kills, and an eye-popping .644 hitting percentage to lead the attack for the Buffs. Mauritson had 64 kills during the tournament, and Elle Renault dished out 103 assists.

Buffs take out La Salle, Molalla in TVC play

Earlier last week, Madras notched two league wins against La Salle (Oct. 1) and Molalla (Thursday).

Against La Salle at home, the Buffs broke a tie atop the TVC with a four-set victory, led by Urbach’s 24 kills. Mauritson had 20 kills in the 29-27, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22 victory, which ended on a Taylor Sjolund kill.

Setter Elle Renault hit a career milestone when she surpassed the 1,000 career assist mark during the match. The win gave the Buffs sole possession of first place in the Tri-Valley Conference.

In Molalla on Thursday, the Buffs posted a 25-19, 25-20, 25-16 win. Urbach had 20 kills to lead the Madras attack.

Currently, La Salle Prep sits in second place in the TVC, one match behind the Buffs at 5-1.

Estacada is in third with a 3-3 record, followed by Molalla’s 2-3 mark.

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