In what Coach Cherie Vandehey called 'the contest of the year,' the Banks varsity volleyball team nearly beat No. 1 Astoria Oct. 9, taking the match to five games.

Astoria finally cinched the victory, winning 25-10, 14-25, 25-18, 25-27 and 17-15 to retain its stranglehold on first place in the Cowapa League.

'It was very close, back and forth all night,' said Vandehey.

Andrea O'Connor led the Braves with 20 kills. Right behind her was Haley Schmidlin with 14 kills, and Kara Klopfenstein and Whitney Blok both contributed six kills.

Battling back in a match Oct. 11, the Braves beat No. 2 Tillamook in three games, 25-23, 25-18 and 25-19. With the victory, Banks moved into second place.

'We just played a great game,' said Vandehey. 'Our ball control was awesome and all of our hitters and setters performed extremely well.'

In other recent games, Banks beat Scappoose 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 Oct. 3 and defeated Seaside in three games Oct. 5 with scores of 25-11, 25-13 and 25-12.

With two weeks left in the regular season, the Braves are determined to hold onto their No. 2 spot, which will catapult them into the playoffs.

Next up is a home match against Scappoose Thursday at 7 p.m.

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