Here we go again.
For the fifth time this season, it’s Days Creek against North Douglas on the volleyball court. In this case, the Skyline League rivals meet in a quarterfinal match of the OSAA Class 1A tournament at 8 a.m. Friday at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.
“(The last four matches) were all competitive matches,” Days Creek coach Ron Dunn said. “We’ve proven we can beat them, they’ve proven they can beat us. Those North Douglas kids will be ready to go, we know it’ll be a tough match.”
Warriors coach Anne Campbell spoke highly of the Wolves.
“The girls are pumped, excited to play Days Creek,” Campbell said. “We know what kind of match we need to have to beat them. (The Wolves) are tough in every area. I think it’ll be a great match.”
Fifth-seeded Days Creek (21-8) advanced to the state tournament for the third straight season with a second-round playoff win over Alsea in four sets at home last Saturday. Fourth-seeded North Douglas (26-6) qualified for the tourney for the fifth consecutive year, beating Adrian in four sets in Drain.
In other quarterfinals Friday: No. 9 Perrydale (26-6) against No. 1 St. Paul (27-0) at 8 a.m.; No. 11 Crosshill Christian (20-10) versus No. 3 Hosanna Christian (28-1) at 10 a.m.; and No. 10 Joseph (24-8) against No. 2 Powder Valley (31-0) at 10 a.m.
Hosanna Christian of Klamath Falls was the state runner-up in 2017, Joseph finished third and North Douglas fourth. Four-time defending champion Country Christian of Molalla didn’t advance to the tournament this year.
North Douglas prevailed in both its league matches with Days Creek, both going five sets. The Wolves won in four at the McKenzie RPI Tournament and won in four at the Skyline League Tournament title match in Sutherlin.
“It’s going to come down to the little things to win this match,” Dunn said. “For our seniors, this is their third state tournament and they want to compete. We went 0-2 the last two years.”
The Wolves are led by junior outside hitters Joleen Crume and Moriah Michaels. Senior setter Kyla Crume, senior middle blocker Brianna Kewish and senior libero Lexi Jackson have played well, and senior middle blocker Lori Jackson and sophomore setter Megan Kruzic have played significant roles.
“We’re pretty excited,” said defensive specialist Cyndal Brown, one of Days Creek’s six seniors. “We want to play our hearts out.
“I think North Douglas is a great team, we enjoy playing them. The team that puts it all out on the court, never lets up, will win.”
North Douglas is a tournament-tested team. The Warriors feature a pair of all-state players in seniors Arianna Helgren and Abby Whipple. Juniors Rilie-Jo Olds, Hope Morgan and Nicki Derrick are also multi-sport athletes, and freshman libero Samantha MacDowell has stepped up in her first year of high school volleyball.
“The girls have worked hard and it feels good to make it (to the state tournament),” Campbell said.
The Days Creek-North Douglas winner will face the Perrydale-St. Paul winner at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The championship match is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.
“We already had a lot of motivation coming in, but (playing Days Creek) gives us more of an edge to win the first match,” said Helgren.
“They’re a phenomenal team, I like all their girls. We know what to expect. We’re evenly-matched and they’re a fun team to play.”
The Wolves have captured four state volleyball titles under Dunn — back-to-back 1A championships in 2002-03, 2011 (2A) and 2013 (2A).
The Warriors have never won a state crown in volleyball, but finished second in 1984 and 2016.