OOL has familiar feel to it
Powder Valley, Imbler look for district title rematch
With the Old Oregon League district volleyball tournament set for Saturday at La Grande High School, this year’s bracket has a familiar look to it.
Defending district champion Powder Valley enters as the No. 1 seed after finishing a perfect 10-0 in the regular season, while Imbler, who lost in the district title game last year to the Badgers, enter as the No. 2 seed.
The Lady Panthers finished 8-2 this year in the OOL, with their only losses coming at the hands of Powder Valley.
Both Imbler and Powder have earned first-round byes Saturday.
Third-seeded Cove (11-7, 6-4) will face off with sixth-seeded Joseph (0-12, 0-10) to start the tournament at 9 a.m.
The Lady Leopards swept the Eagles both times this season and their only league losses came to Powder Valley and Imbler.
“Playing in the OOL each week against great competition only makes us better every game,” Cove coach Darcy Carreiro said recently.
“I think it’s wonderful that we all challenge each other every single game.”
Cove appears to be the one team that can spoil an Imbler-Powder Valley rematch in the title game.
“This team is the best blocking team in the league,” Badgers coach Lasa Baxter said about Cove recently.
With a victory over Joseph the Lady Leopards would move on to face Imbler in the second round.
Wallowa and Pine Eagle will face off in the four-five match-up Saturday.
The Cougars finished 4-6 in the OOL under first-year head coach Jenea Hulse, while Pine Eagle went 2-8.
Wallowa defeated the Spartans 3-0 and 3-1 this season.
The winner of that contest earns the honors of facing off with Powder Valley.
But the way things are playing out look a lot like last year, with the Badgers and Panthers on the fast track for a rematch in the title game.
Both times the two teams faced off this year it was Powder Valley who came out in four games. The two sets that the Lady Badgers lost to the Panthers were the only sets they lost this year in the OOL.
“As we prepare for this weekend’s tournament we are focused on competing at our best, one match at a time,” Imbler coach Jennifer Teeter said.
“Having a bye in the first round is an advantage, but we know the tournament will be very competitive. We are excited to battle with great OOL teams to earn the right to compete in the state playoffs.”
For Baxter, she hopes her team is coming in to the tournament at the right point in the season.
“We got to push forward. I would hate to be a team that peaks too early. There are always things to work on,” Baxter said after a recent match.
The top three teams from the tournament will earn berths in the state playoffs. At stake for the second and third-place teams will be a home playoff game.
The tournament winner will get a bye and host a second-round game, while the second place team will host the third-place team from the Big Sky in the first round.
Ione finished the regular season third in the Big Sky with a 4-2 league record.
The OOL third-place team will travel to meet the second- place team from the High Desert League in the first round of playoffs.
Crane was the second-place finisher in the regular season in the HDL after going 9-1, while Adrian finished 10-0.
Old Oregon League district tournament
At La Grande High School
9:00 a.m. Game 1 - No.3 Cove vs. No.6 Joseph
(20 min. following Game 1) Game 2 - No. 4 Wallowa vs. No. 5 Pine Eagle
(20 min. following Game 2) Game 3 - No. 1 North Powder vs. Winner of No. 4 vs. No. 5
(20 min. following Game 3) Game 4 - No. 2 Imbler vs. Winner of No. 3 vs. No. 6
(20 min. following Game 4) Game 5 - Loser of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4 (Winner is OOL 3rd seed to state)
(20 min. following Game 5) Game 6 - Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4 (determine No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to state)