Taylor Russell, Bailey Norlin-Pritchard and Kyleigh Scott were recognized on senior night before Roseburg’s Southwest Conference volleyball match with South Eugene Thursday at Robertson Memorial Gym.
Then it was time for the Indians to get focused on volleyball and post their seventh conference win of the season.
Roseburg did just that, beating the Axemen 25-15, 25-21, 27-29, 25-14 before a large crowd. Pink was the dominant color in the gym with “Dig Hope” raising awareness for cancer.
It was also the Tribe’s poster night, with the players signing for their young fans following the match.
“It was fun, intense, an exciting night,” Scott said. “I cried a little bit, knowing it’s my last night here, but there’s always basketball. The pre-game stuff just brought the intensity higher.”
“I guess there was just a lot of emotions,” Norlin-Pritchard said. “There’s three of us (seniors), I’ve been playing with them a long time. This was our last match (at home) and it was a lot of fun. I think we worked really hard ... we pulled up quite a few new younger girls (to varsity), and they’ve really rose to the occasion and become a real good part of our team.”
“Definitely a lot of emotions,” added Russell. “I had a lot of family here, and just wanted to come out and kill it my last home match and play my best. Definitely not our ‘A’ game. We came out flat, but persevered. We came back in the fourth set mad and got the W.”
The Indians (11-6, 7-4 SWC) began the season with eight seniors, but five of them quit the team in late September over a homecoming issue.
“We had to adjust at the beginning, but now we’re getting back into our groove and it’s been fun,” Scott said.
Junior Hannah Bartlett led Roseburg with 13 kills and sophomore Chay Swensen had 10 kills against the Axemen (5-10, 3-7). Junior Karey Lomica made 23 digs, Russell distributed 22 assists, Norlin-Pritchard contributed four aces and Scott had two stuff-blocks.
“Our volleyball was very good,” RHS coach Danielle Haskett said. “The third set I tried to honor the seniors by pulling them out on point 22, but that kind of backfired on me. That’s OK, that’s what athletics is all about.
“But overall we played well tonight. I think it’s obvious they’re playing as a team, they’re united and having a good time.”
South Eugene got 12 kills from freshman Amelia Combs. Laura Fullerton added 11 kills and 11 digs, Kate Gerl had 17 assists, Katie Soule made 15 digs and Kali Schoening chipped in three blocks.
The Indians, who travel to Willamette Tuesday for their regular season finale, are assured of finishing no worse than third in the SWC. Second-ranked Sheldon (17-1, 10-0) has clinched the conference crown and North Medford (17-7, 7-3) is a half-game ahead of Roseburg in second.
The top four teams receive automatic berths into the Class 6A playoffs, which begin on Oct. 25.
“I’m happy with my team,” Russell said.
“Third in conference is better than fourth or fifth,” Scott said. “We wish we could’ve been higher, but third is good for us.”