Local 1A volleyball teams start playoff drives
Imbler hosts state champs in first round 1A showdown today
IMBLER — To make it to the second round of the state playoffs, the Lady Panthers will have to do something no 1A volleyball team could do last season — beat Ione.
The defending state champions visit Imbler today at 6 p.m.
The victor will move into the second round of the state playoffs as one of the top 16 teams.
The losing team is eliminated.
In 2011, Ione defeated Powder Valley for the state title in five games for a perfect 32-0 record. But in 2012, the team has struggled through a 12-12 season and finished third in the Big Sky behind Condon/Wheeler (6-0, 17-3) and Dufur (8-0, 20-5).
The Cardinals lost three of their best players off the title squad. Seniors JoAnna Patton and Makenna Ramos were lost to graduation. The third loss was exchange student Dominika Senkerikova.
This season, Ione has four seniors trying to finish their prep careers in the state tournament — but Imbler will be a big roadblock for them. Stacee Halvorson, Alisha Taylor, Lacey Thompson and Shadow Kendrick may be ending their high school volleyball season in Imbler tonight, unless they and the rest of the Cardinals can find an answer for an improving Imbler team that just pushed Powder Valley (20-2) to five games in the Old Oregon League’s district tournament Saturday.
Imbler already has defeated Ione once this season, by a 2-0 margin in the Sherman tournament in mid-September.
Imbler has also defeated Griswold (2-0), Sherman (3-0) and Irrigon (2-1) during the Lady Panthers’ preseason play. They lost to Dufur 3-0.
For Ione, a rollercoaster season has meant losses to Dufur, Irrigon and Stanfield, along with victories over Pilot Rock, Griswold (two) and Delphian. At one point, Ione had a four-game losing streak with consecutive losses to St. Paul, Irrigon, Imbler and Stanfield over a 10-day period in September.
But it took a 3-0 win over South Wasco County Saturday to get the Cardinals into the playoffs with a third place finish in the Big Sky district tournament. Even that was close. Ione won by 25-21, 25-22 and 25-22 scores.
Imbler will be entering the playoffs after getting 35 kills against Cove in the district tournament and 12 alone from Malia Mills. Jacey Teeter had 28 assists in the three-game victory over the Panthers’ rivals.
Danika McIntosh had 15 of her team’s 54 digs against Cove, while Mills had 14 and Teeter finished with 12.
In the title contest against Powder Valley, the Lady Panthers logged 44 kills, led by Mills’ 18. Teeter finished with 38 assists. On defense, McIntosh had 14 of Imbler’s 54 digs, while Mills and Teeter had 11 and 10, respectively.
Stephanie McGilvray led the Panthers with four blocks against Powder Valley’s hitters.
Cove visits Crane to play Lady Mustangs
CRANE — Two years ago, Cove was the state 1A volleyball champions.
This year, the Leopards have made the state 1A playoffs again and need to win two straight playoff games to return to the state tournament.
Cove finished third in the Old Oregon League standings and third again in the Old Oregon League’s district tournament Saturday at La Grande High School.
That third-place finish in the tournament earned the 21st-ranked Leopards a shot at the High Desert League’s second-best team, 16th-ranked Crane, today at 6 p.m.
Crane finished the regular season with a 12-8 record and was 9-1 in High Desert play.
After a 1-7 start, the Lady Mustangs went on a tear, winning their next 11 games by 3-0 margins.
Crane lost to Adrian in the HDL tournament finals by a 3-1 margin (25-14, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22).