LA GRANDE SPIKERS LOSE BATTLE FOR TOP SEED
ONTARIO The Burns volleyball team had momentum on its side late in the five game playoff match against La Grande Tuesday.
Leading the match two games to one, Burns narrowed a big La Grande lead in game four. Burns didn't win that game, but the Hilanders carried that momentum into the fifth game resulting in a 25-17, 25-13, 15-25, 20-25, 15-6 win.
"We made unforced errors in the fifth game," La Grande coach Teresa Dowdy said. "(It's) hard to beat a good team three games in a row. Proud they stayed in there and came back. Came up short in the fifth."
The Greater Oregon League co-champions had the playoff to determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the state tournament after finishing the regular season with 11-1 league records. Burns will head to state as the No. 1 seed.
Dowdy said her players must now move forward and prove themselves at the next level, which starts Saturday.
The Tigers must now earn their way to the state tournament. Dowdy said she reminded the girls that they are still the Greater Oregon League co-champs and the Burns loss doesn't take that away.
La Grande will host a first-round playoff match 6 p.m. Saturday against Wednesday's Wilsonville-Valley Catholic winner.
La Grande started the Burns match strong serving but could not get points when it had the ball, Dowdy said.
"We just couldn't set ourselves up to get in the game offensively," Dowdy said. "We didn't pass as well as we have in the past."
Dowdy said the team could have given up in the third game when it was down 2-0, but it fought back.
"They played really well," she said of Games 3 and 4. "They started hitting. Things started clicking."
La Grande missed only three serves the entire match. Katelin Weaver was 16-for-16 serving, Kathryn Ely was 13-for-13 serving and Stephanie Keith was 12-for-12.
Kaci Lyman had 16 kills and seven blocks. Weaver had 13 digs, Ely nine. Kelli Greenough had 10 blocks. Amanda Timm had five kills. Danielle Tams had 30 assists.