Imbler’s Hannah Wilhelm, (8), and Emma Bowers, (11), go up for a block at the Class 1A volleyball championships in Redmond. The Panthers defeated Condon/Wheeler in the state title game. (Ryan Brennecke/ Bend Bulletin)
Imbler volleyball team brings home third state title, knocks out Knights
REDMOND — All eyes were on Imbler’s Emma Bowers and Malia Mills during the Class 1A state volleyball championship game.
They helped the Panthers jump out to a 2-1 lead against Condon/Wheeler Saturday night.
But, it was senior Stephanie McGilvray who emerged onto the scene in the fourth set to give Imbler its third state volleyball title.
“Condon/Wheeler played really good defense,” Imbler head coach Jennifer Teeter said. “They started picking up Emma’s shots. They were great swings, but they did a great job playing defense.”
McGilvray had not recorded a kill in the first three sets, before erupting for six in the deciding set, allowing the Panthers to win 25-19, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21.
“It’s part of our balance,” Teeter said. “It’s the team mentality that we try to get through to the girls. They get it.”
The Knights tried to force a fifth set, leading 21-15 in the fourth set.
“I called a timeout there,” Teeter said. “The girls understood that we didn’t want to go to a fifth set. You could see their look change. They gave everything they had to make sure that we didn’t play another set.”
Mills, the Old Oregon League Player of the Year, recorded her final kill of the match, making the score, 24-16.
That kill sent Mills to the line, where she stayed for the rest of the game.
Imbler scored the final 10 points of the match.
While one of Imbler’s most dangerous hitters was trapped in the back row, so was the Knights’ best weapon, Ellie Logan.
“She’s the best hitter we’ve seen all season,” Teeter said. “Ellie has the ability to hit a lot of shots. She started tipping when we backed off, and it took the girls a little while to adjust.”
Logan finished with a match-high 28 kills for the Knights.
The Panthers’ Mills had a team-high 20 kills and 19 digs.
Bowers added 19 kills.
Hannah Wilhelm and Jacey Teeter finished with 13 and 12 digs, respectively.
Senior Jacey Teeter led the Panthers with 47 assists.
“Our defense really came up big for us,” Teeter said. “You have to play good defense in order to make it this far.”
Imbler finished the season 27-0 overall, the only team in all six classifications to make it through the season unscathed all year. The Panthers also brought home the fifth state title for the Old Oregon League in the last six seasons.
“It’s a pretty special thing to go undefeated,” Teeter said. “It’s not an easy thing.
“The state titles for the league is a testament to the great coaches and players we have in our area. It’s also the parents getting their kids to camps during the summer. There’s great competition in this area, and we all push eachother.”