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REASON TO CELEBRATE: Union earned its first 2A state tournament berth since 1996 with wins over Enterprise and Imbler Saturday. It was the first time the Bobcats had won the Wapiti District Tournament since 1995. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).
REASON TO CELEBRATE: Union earned its first 2A state tournament berth since 1996 with wins over Enterprise and Imbler Saturday. It was the first time the Bobcats had won the Wapiti District Tournament since 1995. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

ELGIN Union emerged from the pack as the Wapiti Leagues top volleyball team at the district tournament Saturday a spot it owned for most of the season.

The Bobcats, who were in first place in the division all the way through the final weekend of the regular season, beat Imbler, 15-2, 15-9, in the championship match.

We played with confidence the whole day and never got down on ourselves, Union coach Patty Herron said.

Union (20-5) showed its balance throughout the tournament. Against Imbler, the Bobcats raced to a 10-2 lead in the first game behind nine points and three service aces from Kallin Prince.

The second game was a little rougher with Imbler taking a 3-0 lead, but Union rallied to go ahead 12-4 with help from two service aces from Melissa Helmer and two Jana Brotherton kills.

Imbler (12-16) hurt itself by missing six serves, but climbed within 12-9 before Union scored the final three points.

Union came out strong against us and we were not as confident as we needed to be, Imbler coach Jennifer Teeter said. I was proud of the girls and the way they came back in the second game.

Prince went 15-of-15 serving with five aces against Imbler. Helmer was 27-of-27 in setting with nine assists.

Amy Clerget led Imbler on 19-of-20 in serve receiving, and Clerget, Mary Zukin and Emily Correll were 100 percent serving.

Imbler advanced to the championship round by beating Wapiti League champ Wallowa 15-8, 15-9 in the first match. Wallowa (22-9), which was guaranteed a spot at state by winning the league title, will advance as the No. 2 seed.

I was shocked that our typical strengths passing and defense failed us, Wallowa coach Terri Wilson said. We appeared to be nervous. We were a lot more rattled than I thought we would be.

It marks the second year in a row Wallowa will go as the second seed from the Wapiti.

In that match, Imblers Clerget and Tiffany Rasmussen had eight kills each. Rasmussen was 35-of-37 on serve receptions, and Lizzie Woody had 21 assists.

Wallowa was led by Laura Lewiss 25 digs and 10-of-10 serving. Amanda Wilson was 17-for-17 hitting with seven kills. Megan McLain was 12-of-13 hitting with five kills.

Union beat Enterprise, 15-11, 6-15, 15-10, in the second match of the day, ending Enterprises three straight trips to state.

The Bobcats overcame a 6-1 first-game deficit to tie the game 7-all. Ahead 12-11, Jaycee Waite served an ace and Enterprise hit two balls out of bounds to give Union the win.

Union jumped ahead 3-0 in the second game, but Enterprise (17-6) went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good.

Cami Conrad served five straight points, including an ace, and Ashley Anderson had two kills to put Enterprise ahead 13-6. Kills from Valerie Davis and Kazzie Dawson ended the game.

In the final game, Union shot to an 8-2 lead before Enterprise, behind two Dawson kills and an Anderson service ace, pulled Enterprise within 8-7.

A Sarah Bomberger block and kill, followed by two Colbi Robertson service aces, gave Union the cushion it needed to win 15-10.

We played them twice and won and knew the third time would be a charm, Brotherton said. We got what we deserved.

It was a great game, Herron said. It was too bad either team had to lose.

Helmer went 16-for-16 serving with four aces and was 44-for-46 setting with 10 assists. She added 24-of-26 in digging. Brotherton went 32-of-36 with seven kills and three blocks. Shonda Titus had three kills and two blocks.

Enterprise was hurt by missed serves and mistakes, coach Lisa Farwell said.

Im proud of the girls. They had a good season, Farwell said. They have so much ability, but Union did a good job too. They have some big girls who can hit and block well.

Enterprise was led by Andersons 34-of-36 hitting with 12 kills. Conrad had 20 assists, Maya Waldron had seven kills on 20-of-20 hitting, and Dawson had 14 digs.

Wallowa won the Northeast Oregon Volleyball Officials Sportsmanship Trophy.

The district all-tournament team included Imblers Woody and Rasmussen, Wallowas Wilson, Enterprises Anderson and Unions Brotherton.

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