Observer staff

Emma Hite had 19 kills and 12 digs to lead Joseph to a back-and-forth victory over Union in nonleague play Tuesday, 25-27, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 15-12.

Sabrina Albee added 23 assists, nine digs and seven kills, and Alexis Sykora had eight kills and 13 digs. Both Hite and Sykora added three blocks.

“Girls had great energy,” Joseph head coach Jill Hite said. “We missed a lot of serves, but were very aggressive at the net. Emma really added energy with her hitting and back row play.”

Ellie Clark turned in a strong night with 13 kills, 10 assists, 21 digs and 10 aces. Katie Good had 11 kills, 12 assists and 14 digs and Ashten Wright added 10 kills and 18 digs. But the Bobcats were plagued by 20 missed serves.

“You can’t overcome that,” head coach Lasa Baxter said. “Our top dogs (Clark and Good) had 12 missed serves between the two of them. The girls outside of that really did not play bad at all.”

Joseph (18-9 overall) meets Griswold in the first round of the Old Oregon League district tournament Saturday at La Grande High School, while Union (18-4) meets Imbler at the Wapiti League district tournament Saturday at Eastern Oregon University.

Also Tuesday

Imber nips Enterprise: For the third time this season, Imbler and Enterprise played a five-set thriller.

This time, it went the way of the Panthers.

Allie Slater had 15 kills and 19 digs, and Imbler staved off a rally by the Outlaws to earn a 25-17, 25-16, 23-25, 22-25, 15-9 win over Enterprise Tuesday in a third-place Wapiti League tiebreaker match in Elgin.

“Overall, very proud of our team’s effort to never give up and come out on top,” Imbler head coach Jennifer Teeter said. “Strong team serving performance.”

Hannah Kilpatrick added a team-high 29 digs and seven kills. Katelyn Stirewalt powered the offense with 30 assists and also had four aces. Both Slater and Kilpatrick added three aces.

Heidi Niezen led Enterprise with 11 kills, Riley Gray added 10 kills and Reece Christman had 12 assists and 21 digs.

“After losing the first two sets, they gathered themselves and came out swinging,” Outlaws coach Lisa Farwell said. “ We just didn’t have quite enough to finish the match.”

The win sends Imbler (6-14 overall) into a battle with Union in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 match at the Wapiti League district tournament Saturday at Eastern Oregon University. Enterprise (7-13) faces Elgin in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 match Thursday in Imbler, with the winner advancing to Saturday.

Leopards come up short: Cove saw its season come to an end one match short of the Old Oregon League district tournament, losing to Griswold in a play-in game Tuesday, 25-23, 25-21, 25-21.

“We struggled to get our offense going at the pace we are used to tonight,” head coach Darcy Carreiro said.

Maggie Ledbetter, Cove’s lone senior, finished with nine kills, eight assists, six digs and three blocks. Raegan Duby added 21 digs and Allie Best had five digs and four kills.

“I’m proud of the tenacity we showed in these close, tough sets. I love these girls and am proud to be their coach,” Carreiro said.

The Leopards finish the season at 10-14 overall.

Wallowa match moved to tonight: Wallowa’s Old Oregon League play-in match at Echo was rescheduled to tonight due to Echo being unable to get referees for the match’s original Tuesday start time, Cougars head coach Janea Hulse said.

The winner faces Powder Valley at the Old Oregon League district tournament Saturday, while the loser sees its season come to an end.


Elgin falls in three: Elgin dropped its regular season finale to the La Grande JV in straight sets Monday, 25-23, 25-20, 25-17.

Lille Harvey led the defense with seven blocks, and both Jayden Palmer and Kaelin Evans had two blocks and one kill.

“It was a little bit more of a confidence builder,” head coach Tiana Murphey said. “They had a tough week the week before and (Monday) they played together and trusted each other.”

Elgin (4-16 overall) meets Enterprise Thursday in the Wapiti League’s No. 4 vs. No. 5 match in Imbler.