The South Umpqua High School volleyball team knew a loss on Tuesday night would really put it behind the eight ball in the Class 3A Far West League standings — two games behind the co-leaders.
The Lancers played with a sense of urgency and defeated Sutherlin in four sets on South Umpqua’s court in Tri City.
Scores were 25-21, 25-22, 19-25, 25-6.
South Umpqua (9-4, 2-2 FWL), which is No. 6 in the OSAAtoday 3A coaches’ poll, moved into a tie for third place with Sutherlin (9-8, 2-2) and Douglas (4-9, 2-2) in the Far West. No. 7 Cascade Christian (6-3, 3-1) and St. Mary’s (9-8, 3-1) share first.
“I was really nervous coming into the match,” S.U. coach Sarah Gray said. “We worked on a few things in practice and the girls executed them.
“We played pretty well. Sutherlin is a good team. They outheighted us and put down some good balls, and we had to make a lot of adjustments.”
Jenna Whitmore finished with nine kills, 11 digs, four blocks and three aces for the Lancers. Shalyn Gray had 14 digs, eight kills and six aces, Tori Lind contributed 18 assists, eight digs and four aces and Ellery Smith added nine digs, five aces and three kills.
“Tori worked hard tonight,” Sarah Gray said. “She served tough the last game.”
Lind served 11 straight points and Smith served seven in a row in the lopsided fourth set.
“We just couldn’t serve-receive (in the fourth game),” Sutherlin coach Kathy Rice said.
Alyssa Fox led the Bulldogs with 16 kills. Sophomore Tianna Murphy had 14 assists.
Rice said her team has some soul searching to do following back-to-back league losses.
“The girls just aren’t showing up,” she said. “It was a struggle all night. This is a talented group, but the girls need to come to practice tomorrow with some ideas and get re-focused.
“South Umpqua is always good. Well-coached. Their girls have played together a long time, and it shows. They play smart.”
Both teams return to league play on Thursday night.
South Umpqua will travel to Douglas, and Sutherlin hosts Brookings-Harbor.